Just One Rose

Just Peachy
Photo by Sherri Woodbridge

A  woman who wanted affirmation from God that He did, indeed, hear her desperate prayers. She had been raised to believe that laying a fleece before Him was taboo, but at this point in her life, she didn’t know what else to do. Her bitterness and sorrow were growing day by day.

She approached the throne of God and made her request known. She asked her heavenly Father that  if He was listening, to send her a red or a yellow rose.

She awoke the next morning, dressed, and headed off to work. All was usual. Even the co-worker that came into her office. And, this wasn’t just any co-worker, but the one that annoyed her due to his perky, joyful attitude. He was too happy and that annoyed her for one simple reason. She wasn’t.

As usual, he was his regular self – full of perk and joy. And full of the smiles she had come to nearly despise. This particular day he greeted her, hands behind his back. She wasn’t in the mood for smiling or merriment. Somehow he had sensed that from her lately and on this particular day he brought her a gift. “A little something,” he felt prompted to explain, “that I thought would cheer you up. The red one is to remind you that you are cherished by a big God and the yellow one is to remind you that He is in control and wants you to be at peace.”

Before he could finish, tears were streaming down her face. The years of sorrow and loss that had turned to bitterness and despair, washed away with the tears that ran down her face that day. God had been listening and answered not just with one rose, but two.

After reading her post, I sat at my computer, staring at the screen. Tears rolled down my cheeks. It was at that very moment that I, too, prayed for a rose. A fleece in the form of a scented bloom. I would not be so bold as to be specific as to color. Any rose would do. I wasn’t picky.

While in the process of moving, packing up our too many belongings, putting them in storage and heading who knows where, we are, I guess one might say – temporarily ‘homeless’. Unable to meet our financial demands in our current place of residence, we are seeking God’s will for the next placement, while not knowing what that looks like or where it is.

With each box that is taped and labeled, the question remains in the back of my mind as to when these boxes of mementoes, memories and more will be opened. The bigger question that haunts me is whether or not we are doing the right thing. Believing we are and at the same time, feeling like we’ve gone absolutely crazy.

So, sitting there before the computer, I laid a fleece before the throne of God. I asked for affirmation that we were making the right choices and doing the right thing. I didn’t need to know where He was taking us or when or how. I just wanted to know we were being obedient and not on some crazy path made of our own accord.

The next day my son was visiting and I was in the other room when the doorbell rang. He answered it and I could hear him talking to someone. By the time I got upstairs, the visitor had left. I asked him who was at the door and he said it was one of my friends. She had brought something for me and he had put it on the kitchen counter. I turned around and looking into the kitchen, there on the counter stood six perfect, as beautiful as I’ve ever seen, red roses from her garden.

I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God. He doesn’t just answer our prayers, but goes beyond what we could have imagined, assuring us that he is indeed listening and answering in abundance.

Job and His So-Called Friends

IMG_6930.JPGI began to read in my Bible, the book of Job, chapter 42. When I came to verse 10, I decided to read the whole book of Job again. Once again, I was amazed at the insensitivity of Job’s friends.

Here is a man who is down and out and yet, his friends have nothing but bitter, condemning words to offer him in his time of need. Their so called ‘friend’. Reading through this book, it made me look into my own heart and examine my relationships, past and present, where I have felt confused and hurt by words or actions of others, and it also made me examine how I could have been a better friend in some of those relationships.

When we get hurt in a relationship, we often end up feeling that it was the other person’s fault. It often takes tears, soul-searching, and honesty on our part to realize that we had something (even if perhaps it was just a small part) to do with the break down of that relationship. It could be anything from not being sensitive enough to the others needs, to saying something out of line. It is in times like these that to do anything less than searching our hearts, would be to fall into the trap where Job found himself. Only – Job didn’t realize he was there.

In chapter 32, a new voice is heard after the reprimand Job’s friends bring to him. Job, throughout the book up to this point, always comes back to stating that he has done nothing wrong. That his life is blameless. He is convinced that his plight is due to the fact that God has left him, is angry with him, has turned away and forgotten him. He wonders what he has done to deserve his state of condition..

Elihu, this ‘new voice’ that is heard towards the end of the book, begins telling his opinion of the plight that has befallen Job.

“…My words come from an upright heart… my hand should not be heavy upon you. But (speaking to Job) you have said… ‘I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt. Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy…’

By this time I imagine Job was feeling rather picked upon. Elihu, however, brings to light a different perspective of Job’s lament.

He begins, in chapter 34, to remind Job of the words that had come out of his very mouth. In verse 5 Elihu says to those listening, “Job says, ‘I am innocent, but God denies me justice. Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’ Elihu goes on to say, “what an is like Job, who drinks scorn like water? He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with wicked men. For he says, ‘It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God.’

You must remember the Lord never slumbers nor sleeps. And so, He is listening to this conversation. I wonder if finally, in verse 38, God finally says, “Okay, that’s enough. Time to get involved.” He comes ‘out of the storm’ (verse 1). If He came out of the storm to speak to Job, does that mean that all the while, He was actually in the storm with him? Was He in there, being tossed and turned with each cry of despair? Does it mean that He never did forsake Job and that there was a purpose in Job’s suffering that the human heart could not perceive?

I wondered that as God began to speak to Job. I also thought, if it was me in Job’s place, I’d be shaking in my shoes, at the very least. God begins by saying, “Brace yourself like a man.” I can just picture being blown away at that point and all areas of me were exposed for what they were. For three chapters, God reminds Job that He is speaking, and in no uncertain terms, just who He is. In chapter 40, God gets even more serious. “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer Him!” Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer – twice, but I will say no more.” I can just picture Job at this point, wanting so bad to say something, then thinking better ofit. Following that reply is the Lord’s answer and again it is, “Brace yourself like a man…”

After listening to God for what probably seemed like an eternity, Job replies to the Lord. I have to admire the courage of this man. He was not afraid to be candidly honest with the Lord. He knew the Lord had heard his every word, good and bad and there was no sense in hiding from him now. There was nothing to hide. All had been exposed.

“I know that you can do all things… Surely I spoke of things that I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Confession and repentance. Job began his trial as righteous and blameless. Through his trial, his pride got the best of him and God called him to the carpet. He recognized his sin and confessed it with a repentant heart. God was pleased and restored him. However, the story didn’t end there.

God turned to Eliphaz, one of Job’s “friends” and said that he was angry with him and the other two hooligans because of what they had said about Him was not right. The way out? Job was going to have to pray for his friends. And, he did.

I wondered, how many times have I been hurt and scorned by friends and the last thing I felt like doing was to pray for them? I do remember though, at an early age, the importance of that lesson by a high school teacher. I was confiding with him how I was having a difficult time with a peer in one of my classes. He told me to start praying for her and having no reason to doubt his advice, I did. After many weeks, I am not sure that God changed her heart or that He changed mine, but we ended up becoming really good friends.

“After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” That is the verse I started at before I went back and started again at the beginning. It was the part of how Job had prayed for the friends that had given up on him. The ones that only added to his pain and suffering. The ones that were ready to walk out on his life and give him up for dead. Instead of casting off their friendship after all was said and done, he obeyed as God commanded and prayed for his friends. It is only after that act of obedience that God blessed him. Was it because he obeyed? Was it because there was total forgiveness toward Job and his friends, brought on by Job interceding on his friends’ behalf? It is rather difficult to pray for someone whom you have a grudge against.

Friends don’t condemn and berate. They support each other and pray for one another. And when they do that, they are friends forever.

Until We Know We Are Loved

sunset.JPGWhen I read my Bible, I like to write out what I’m reading as a paraphrase, or if something significant for that day – I will expound on why, or I will record my  thoughts for other reasons.  Today when I finished with John 17 (I’ve been re-reading the book of John), I was so encouraged that I wanted to share. Here are my notes… I have tried to ‘clean’ them up a bit so they make more sense. Hopefully, you will be encouraged, too.

 

John 17

verse 1:
Jesus looks up toward heaven and prays…

He begins as He taught us to pray, with ‘Father’…

Jesus asks to be glorified by His Father so that HE might glorify the FATHER.

What does that look like? I can only immediately picture a father who is extremely proud of his son and he’s telling the world about his son’s talent. After, his son then demonstrates this wonderful talent,gift to the world. When the son is finished, he tells the world that the credit – the glory – goes to his father, not taking any of the accolades for himself.

Even that analogy seems so paltry.

Jesus is ready to give His life – give the ultimate sacrifice – and doesn’t ask that he get the attention or due applause He deserves, but before He is even called to ‘perform’ – give His gift/His life to the world – he asks that the glory He may receive goes directly back to his Father.

Jesus ask the Father to glorify Him so that the Father may be glorified. You can’t glorify one without giving the other glory.

verse 2-3:
Jesus was granted authority over all people in the hopes that HE might give them all eternal life.

Eternal life is knowing the true God and Jesus Christ who he has sent. You can’t know God without believing in Him. To really know him, you would believe in Him and to believe in Him, you would really know Him.

verse 4-5:
Jesus completed all that was required of him by God and asks to be glorified in His Father’s presence with the glory he had before the world began.

And then He prays for his disciples…

verse 6-12:
He tells God of their faith, their belief. He says that because the disciples belong to the Father, this is why He is praying for them. Because if they belong to the Father, they belong to Him (and so therefore, He prays for them).

Glory already has come to God merely through the faith and belief of the disciples.

Jesus tells his Father that He is coming home but the disciples are remaining on earth and asks his holy Father to protect these men by the power of his name – JESUS – so that the men may be one as Jesus and the Father are one. While Jesus was with his disciples, he kept them safe by his name (except Judas who was doomed to fulfill Scripture).

There is power in the name of Jesus. It isn’t just a word to a pretty song or an insert to a well-meaning poem. It is truth. THERE IS POWER in the name of Jesus. Jesus himself proclaimed it. First.

So Jesus asks to protect the disciples so that they may be one as he and the Father are one.

What would this look like? To be in constant communion with each other – having the same mind, the same faith, the same love, the same forgiveness, the same struggles? A Jesus community of believers.

verse 13-16:
Jesus is on His way home… But he prays while he is still in the world so that his disciples have the full measure of joy within them.

How does praying for them here, complete their joy?

They hear Him pray for THEM. They hear Him pray directly to His father FOR THEM. They hear Him pray for their PROTECTION. They hear Him tell the Father how powerful His (Jesus’)  name is. They hear Him ask God,(because He does not ask them to be rescued from what is to come), to PROTECT them from the evil one. 

 

Because the disciples are not of the world any more than Jesus was/is of the world, they will be targeted by destruction, as every believer is.

Wouldn’t it complete my joy to hear my Jesus pray for me like that? Ahh… but HE has!

verse 17-19:
Jesus asks for the sanctification of the disciples by God’s truth – His word. Cleansing comes by His word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus is the Word. From the beginning. (John 1) Sanctification comes through the Word. Through Jesus. We are made holy through Him.

“For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:19)

Sanctification, or holiness, means being separated. Before sanctification, we are separated FROM God. After being sanctified, we have become separated from the world. We have been sanctified and we continue to be sanctified on a daily basis

Jesus was sanctified by His sacrifice on the cross so that we “too could be truly sanctified.” He gave the sacrifice required by the old law so that we could live by the ‘new law’. Belief. One sacrifice eliminated the need for all others. One sacrifice eliminated the requirement for regular offerings of your best. Jesus said it right there in His prayer to the Father – I sanctify myself so that they too may be truly sanctified. There is no other way to be one with God. It is only through believing Him.

verse 20-23:
Then He moves His prayer to include ALL believers, not just His disciples. He prays for those who will believe in Him because of the  message the disciples  will bring. Again, asking that the believers, as He asked for the disciples, be made one as He and His Father are one. He in the Father and the Father in Him. What power! Jesus asks this so that the world may believe that His Father sent Him. He gives us the glory that God gave to  Him so that we may be one as, again, He and the Father are one. Jesus in us and the Father in Him.

He then asks that believers will be brought to COMPLETE UNITY to let the world know that the Father sent Him and has loved them even as the Father has loved Jesus.

***It is in the complete unity of believers that the world will know the love of the Father.***

verse 24:
“Father”, Jesus says, “I want those you have given me [believers] to be with me where I am, to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

HIS GLORY. He wants us to see His glory. The excitement for us to see what He has done for us is like a child who has just made her best drawing as a gift. She can’t wait for the one she has given it to. Waiting in anticipation of the look on their face when they finally open it. He wants us to see His gift. The gift of His glory. Glory given to Him because He has been loved before the creation of the world. Whew.  Again,  a platry illustration, but leaves me  speechless to think upon…

AND IF THAT WEREN’T POWERFUL ENOUGH…

verse 25-26:
“Righteous Father,” he prays, “though the world doesn’t know you, I do and they know you’ve sent me. I have made it known to them and will continue making it known to them in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus knows the Father and the world knows He was sent by the Father, though they choose not to believe that and deny His existence.

Jesus made it known that the Father sent Him and will continue to make it known, IN ORDER THAT THE LOVE GOD HAS FOR HIS SON MAY BE IN THEM ALSO AND THAT JESUS HIMSELF MAY BE IN THEM AS WELL.

Wow.

He will keep making the truth known.

Until we know we are loved and know it’s all because of Jesus – He will keep making it known.

 

 

Leaving Your Nets Behind

“Come, follow me,” Jesus says, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 

At once Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew leave their nets and follow Him. (Mark 1:17).

At once

They don’t even think about whether it is the right thing to do. They know. His presence demands obedience. Respect. A want and a need to follow.

At once

They don’t hesitate but immediately give each other a quick glance as if to say, “You in?” and seeing the answer on one anothers face, throw down their nets and join Him.

Jesus goes a little farther down the lake. He sees James and his brother John and immediately calls them and they leave their father and his hired men in the boat where they are and follow Jesus.

At once

Without taking their father. Leaving the family business. They, just like Peter and Andrew , throw down their past and follow their future.

They take nothing with them. They never stop to ask questions like, “What will we eat?”, or “What will we wear?”, or “Where will we sleep?”

They just obey. Without reservation and full of trust. Because they just know.

*** 

They didn’t need evidence. 

They didn’t need signs and wonders. 

They just knew.

Are we so bold? So trusting? Are we willing to say “Yes, Lord” when we look up into a starry sky or hear the cry of a newborn baby or smell the fragrance of a rose or hold new life in our hands? Are we quick to say yes to Truth even though we may not fully understand it or know where it’s taking us?

That’s what Jesus asks of us. He’s not asking us to leave our brains at the door. That’s not trust.

Trust is what He’s asking of us. Faith. To trust and just believe what He says – that He is the way, that He is the truth, and that He is the life. Or more personally speaking,

He is our way

He is our truth

and

He is our life.

Just like the disciples, we, too, have a choice we must make… 

Will we lay down our past and trust Him for our future?

Surely He Was The Son of God

“For God so love the world that He gave His one and only Son…”

For many, that verse has been heard a thousand times over and it can mean next to nothing to them anymore. For others, they have heard that Jesus died on the cross, yet leave that fact hanging in mid-air so as not to allow it to pierce their heart. They, like I once did, have heard the story of the cross like this: “Jesus died on the cross for your sins.” That’s pretty plain. Pretty simple. But was that all there was to it, really? Just a plain and simple fact?

The last six hours in the life of Christ can show you, once again, (or for what may be the first time), that for Jesus to die on the cross, was not so plain, nor was it so simple.

Jesus has been up all night under a great amount of stress. After all, He is the Son of God and knows the Father’s thoughts. He knows what lies ahead. He had spent these precious hours on His knees, praying in the garden of Gethsemane. His prayers are powerful, intentional and pleading. So emotive that crimson drops of sweat drip from His pores. And then, in the middle of His prayers, He is apprehended as if a criminal.

He is taken away, only to endure three legal, yet not so just, trials. He is flogged – a lashing done with the use of a whip made of rawhide.

In a flogging, the whip that is used contains steel like balls in the middle of the rawhide and at the end, pieces of bone that can cut glass. The criminals in Jesus’ day were tied to a pole, face forward with their back exposed and the authorities would then swing the whip. As it would swing around the criminals body, the balls would hit and cause major contusions to the organs as the pieces of bone cut into the flesh. When pulled out, it ripped away the flesh. Thirty-nine lashes was the legal limit, for few individuals ever lived beyond those 39 lashes.

That’s what Jesus gets.

When Christ lay, most likely almost dead, they strip him of his clothes. They spit on Him. They shove a twisted crown of thorns on his head. They strike Him on the head. They mock him as king.

Emotionally he is exhausted. Physically he is almost dead. Mentally he is drained. Yet, it isn’t over. In such a weakened condition, He isn’t able to carry the load of the cross – my cross. But he was chosen to bear it.

He is led to Golgotha – the hill on which he must die.

The nails are like spikes. He winces with each strike of the mallet which pounds each one into His hands and into His feet. Hanging there, insults are hurled at him as slop thrown to swine. He does not retaliate. He suffers and makes no threats. Instead, he entrusts Himself to His heavenly Father, who will judge justly.

Having every power at hand to stop what is happening, he chooses to face humiliation, mockery, and the face of death with a selfless act of obedience.

Still, he endures because…

They aren’t finished with him yet.

They lift up sour wine for him to drink. They insult him, take his clothes and cast lots for them. To them, it’s all a game. It’s all about taunting what appears to be the underdog. It’s all about obeying the rules of the deceived and twisting them to fit your momentary, fleeting pleasure.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…”

He doesn’t use His words to bite back. He doesn’t say, “I’ll get you!” or, “Come on up here and say that to my face!” or, “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on the lips of Christ. Instead, He left the ways of judgment up to God and demanded no apology. Instead, he speaks in their defense.

“Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing!”

How Jesus, a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by blood, and lungs yearning for air could speak on behalf of some heartless thugs is beyond my comprehension.

Jesus didn’t die from a loss of blood. He didn’t die of pain. He suffocated.

To die by crucifixion is to die by suffocation. His arms are nailed cross-ways and while hanging, soldiers bend his legs and put a nail between both ankles so that the criminal is able to push himself up with his legs. But as he hangs there, his arms will quickly dislocate. Trying to push up, his organs will begin to slide down and the pain of pushing himself up is compensated by trying to get a breath and then… he suffocates.

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life …

No one takes my life from me…

I lay it down on my own accord.

I have the authority to lay it down or to take it up again…

A centurion sits nearby. He watches the three men who are lined up on their crosses. There is no respect, no cause for care or concern, no dignity. There are merely pieces of meat. A conversation develops between the center man hanging on a cross and the one hanging to his left. The centurion can’t hear much but what he does hear is a proclamation by the man on the left, stating that this man called Jesus is innocent.

The rumble of voices quiet. The world grows freakishly silent.

As the centurion stands, he notices that the man in the middle is lifeless but out of somewhere, the lifeless body musters strength enough to lift its head upward and like a bolt of lightening and the roar of thunder he proclaims, “It is finished.”

The centurion takes three quick steps forward and falls at the foot of the cross where Jesus hangs. Not because he suddenly realizes just who this man is that he himself had a part in hanging him up to die, no. It is because, in those three steps forward, the earth begins to shake angrily and he loses his balance. The skies grow dark with a vengeance.

The centurion looks up into the face of this man, so near to death. Jesus looks down. His arms outstretched, hammered with nails the rugged post, He is unable to embrace this one who now understands. They lock eyes and in that instant, the soldier falls under the grace of God and states a truth that will ring throughout history:

“Surely this was the Son of God.”

The faith of the centurion was born that day at the foot of the cross and forgiveness was poured down over him by the crimson blood of Christ. And the soldier weeps.

“Surely this man was innocent.”

And most assuredly, He was.

You Fix It – On Being Obedient

My favorite line in “The Return of the King” by Tolkien is when Sam and Frodo are almost to the top of the mountain in their quest to rid the middle world of the ring of evil and Sam says to Frodo (who has been entrusted to carry out this great mission), “I can’t carry your burden for you, but I can carry you.”

I absolutely love that line. It reminds me of the unconditional, boundless love of God, who, in the midst of life’s uncertainties, sorrows, and heartaches, carries us when we cannot go any further.

The other day I was talking to someone about a lingering issue in my life that God just doesn’t seem to be fixing. An issue that affects me quite often. I know that God is definitely growing me through this situation, but when I see it continually surface, I wonder at times as to why God is so persistent in bringing it back up.

“Maybe it is God’s intention for you to fix it,” a friend said to me as I shared my heart.

Oh. I hadn’t thought of that. I thought God fixes everything. I thought we hurt, He heals. We suffer, He comforts. We repent, He forgives. Isn’t it natural to just want and expect God to fix everything? This allows us to just go on about our business. We can continue on and hopefully, He won’t call upon us to get involved. Wrong. I am learning—very wrong. I have to admit that I have come to agree with my friend. God occasionally intends for us to fix it, but alongside Him. In His strength. In His wisdom. In His power. He will receive the glory, but hopefully in the process, we become more like Him.

I have to ask myself: What if we all looked the other way? (I confess I’m guilty) What if we all leave the dirty work for the next person to deal with? (Again—guilty) What if we never confront when God prompts us to do so? (Guilty most of the time.) What if we never “fix” anything and just hope that God will deal with it while we conveniently look the other way?

It’s happened in my life but it is my heartfelt prayer that when I know the right thing to do, that no matter how painful, no matter the cost, I have done and will do the right thing. I have learned that it is sin to look the other way and do nothing. Every once in a while (more often than we want to admit), we are all called upon by an Almighty God, for reasons we may never, ever understand, to come alongside of Him and “fix something”.

It was just today that I received a letter from a highly respected teacher of mine from the past that said: “Two things I have learned—number one: Compromise always begins with the little and seemingly insignificant things. And, number two: when God clearly prompts me in a gray area that involves integrity, err on the side of fastidious obedience.”

If we can know—beyond a doubt—that we are being led by the hand of God in the task before us, whatever it may be, then we can be assured that He will be glorified for He is our strength and wisdom and power. We can be assured that He will carry us through obedience to His will.

Clothed for A Certain Purpose

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49

I read a devotional the other day on musicians. Actually, it wasn’t on musicians, per se, but rather, it was about people who like to think of themselves as musicians. You know – the kind of people who do things they are not really gifted at, but they do it any way, often ignoring God’s nudging to get out of the way while convincing no one but themselves into believing they are the chosen ‘one’. These are the kind of people who tend to squeeze into places where they don’t belong, robbing someone else of the blessing of being usable with the gifts they were given because someone else is in the way. It may be for the sake of pride that they continue to do what sometimes they know they shouldn’t be doing. I know people like that and, to my shame, have found myself in that situation as well.

I know that I can get discouraged with people like that, even if it is me. I get discouraged thinking that my self-worth is based on someone else’s opinion or thinking that by doing, I have value. I get frustrated with people who use other people so that they can feel better about themselves or think that a relationship with someone of prestige will get them to a higher plane of position. If I listen and heed the words of Jesus, I should be seeking the opposite.

My husband recently reminded me how Jesus responded to the disciples about wanting a spot of honor next to the Lord in heaven. Jesus told them that it was better to serve than to be served and if they truly wanted to become great, they must become a servant first. I think it is safe to say that these mighty men of God also suffered from pride and insecurity at times, as we all do.

I recently saw a quote that read: People see our good deeds. God sees the motive behind them. Being a servant begins in our hearts first and not in our actions. We can play the servant and portray an attitude of humbleness, but if it is just for show, we are pretending to play a part for ourselves and not for God. We find that we are in certain situations and circumstances not to glorify God, but to bring glory to ourselves, even if subconsciously. We don’t fool Him, but we sure can fool ourselves. So often our insecurities and pride deceive us into thinking we are right where we need to be while taking up space where someone else most likely belongs.

Within the last couple years, I have seen how insecurity and a feeling of unworthiness can be a form of pride just as much as arrogance and haughtiness. It is a state in which we are focused on nothing but ourselves. Rick Warren says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others. Humble people are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves.”

Jesus wants us all to play beautiful music. He wants our lives to shine for His glory and not our own. However, the ‘music’ must be that which He has given us and not that given to someone else to play.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the disciples had taken to running away right after Christ appeared to them following His resurrection and did their own thing instead of doing what He asked of them? Jesus told them, “…stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” They obeyed – they waited and forgot themselves by putting God first and were clothed from on high! They were clothed with Christ, working through His power and not their own. Making an impact for His glory and not their own. Can you imagine the difference if they had gone out in their flesh and not ‘waited’?

Sometimes we need to sit tight and wait until we have been clothed with God’s power to carry out a certain task. Not so that we can play beautiful music in our own flesh and have people clap and praise us in our feeble efforts, but so that we are empowered by His spirit for His glory , empowered so that He may be glorified at our humble offering.

Oh Lord, let us be like you. You, who stooped to wash the feet of those less worthy. Let us not expect anything good for anything great we think we can do, but hope that in anything we do, we do it for you and that you alone are glorified. May the music of our lives truly be a sweet sound in your ears as we play the part you have given us individually to play.