Saturday, February 21, 2009

just manage the property

The Master said, "Let me ask you: Who is the dependable manager, full of common sense, that the master puts in charge of his staff to feed them well and on time? He is a blessed man if when the master shows up he's doing his job. But if he says to himself, 'The master is certainly taking his time,' begins maltreating the servants and maids, throws parties for his friends, and gets drunk, the master will walk in when he least expects it, give him the thrashing of his life, and put him back in the kitchen peeling potatoes. -- Luke 12:42-46 The Message

My new job -- and yes! I have one! -- is the administrative assistant to the Property Manager of a high rise condo complex in Verona.  It is not my dream job, but I have come to a peace that I need to be grateful for a job, and I am trusting that God is in this and plans to allow me to minister there.  But in a big way, I expect He is teaching me something important.

The book I just finished reading was Saturdays with Stella, and in a chapter entitled "Yours, Mine, and... Well, Mine - Leave It," Allison is teaching her dog, Stella, the command "leave it." The God-related concept is that everything belongs to God-- everything!  We need to trust Him in what He gives and in what He withholds from us.

Allison writes, "I'm not teaching Stella to 'leave it' simply to delay inevitable gratification. The key to the behavior is to break the fixation.  No dog ever truely obeys this command until she completely walks away from whatever was being denied... I want Stella to know that no distraction is worth disobedience.... I don't want her to feel pampered; I want her to feel safe.  She doesn't need to be indulged; she needs to be loved.  I don't meet her demands; I anticipate her needs."

In this position I have now, there is no question about my ownership.  I am the assistant to the property manager, and even she is not the owner.  The people who own the condos, they are the owners.  We simply carry out their plans.  We are managers.  We are stewards.

God is showing me that nothing that I think I "own" is, in fact, mine.  It's all His.  My house, my beach cottage, my car, my new job, the clothes in my closet, the food in my refrigerator, even my children and my husband--all are His that He has given freely.  All are His to take away.  He doesn't give because I am good and take away because I am bad or He is mean.  He is concerned about my being safe, being loved, caring for my true needs.

Father, help me see the difference between being a dependable manager and trying to be "master of the universe." Heal me of this sin.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praise. -- Job 1:21

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Doctor's Orders - Settle!

So I've had this pain in my leg. It took a week of the pain getting worse and worse before I finally decided to find a chiropractor. Turns out the pain in my left leg was caused by a pinched nerve in my spine and a sore muscle in my right (you know) and the prescription for that is several visits per week to the chiropractor and warm baths.

The interesting part is that the first adjustment was preceded by the doctor putting me on the table, face down, with my head in the gully-type thing, and my arms handing down under the table, and four warm, vibrating discs on my lower back. And I had to lay there, still, for about 16 minutes.

Ok, so this is how silly I am...I was not sure I could do this. Lay still for that long. What could I do while I was waiting? I could not read, sort my grocery coupons, text my kids on my cell phone, watch some silly TV show, or even talk to anyone as the doctor left me alone in the room with the hum of the vibrator. I mean, it was really difficult to just lay still and allow someone else to do something for me to begin the healing for my pain. And stay still for 16 whole minutes.

God is so good! To allow me to hurt my leg in order for me to get this!

I started reading this cool book entitled Saturdays with Stella by Allison Pittman. It is about how taking her dog, Stella, to dog obedience school helped her understand what it meant to follow her Master. The first lesson was "Settle" where Stella (and Allison) learned to settle down and enjoy the Master's love. How I needed this lesson too!

I agree, "there is something scary in so much stillness." Like being still must mean I do not have something important to do, so I am not important. Or that my Master might have something to tell me that I might not want to hear. I need to trust that my Master loves me! That anything He would say to me would be life, truth, joy and blessing. That nothing I have to do is more important than enjoying His presence. I need to stop pulling away. To surrender. To totally rest in that. To be able to be--no, to delight in being still and in His presence.

And as I take warm baths, because I am in pain and I have to, and as I lay in the doctors office, still for 16 whole minutes, because I am in pain and I have to, I have learned to enjoy being settled.

Thank You, Master, my Beloved, for holding me down. Too bad it had to come to this, but whatever it takes.

He will quiet you in His love. Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, February 09, 2009

Diligence vs. Obsession

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. --Hebrews 6:10-12 MSG

If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. --Phil 2:1-4 MSG

It has almost become an obsession, this search for a job. I am constantly checking the internet job lists, emailing out my resume, tweaking my cover letter...

When does diligence end and obsession begin? When can I stop checking the lists and say... Enough! Now it is time to clean my house, call a friend, do my Bible Study, read a book to my grandson, hug my husband or lend a helping hand.

The obsession comes from thinking that God will let me down, walk off and leave me. From forgetting that God is just and will not forget my work and the love I have shown Him as I have helped His people and continue to help them.

That I must be diligent BECAUSE God won't be.

Yes, this is just what Satan wants.

Help me, Beloved, to balance my life with good things as well as the necessary. Let me be diligent to look for what I need, and not just expect it to drop in my lap. On the other hand, help me not obsess. Obsession is not of You. You can be trusted with my life, my future and my family.

Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I'm fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me? --Hebrews 13:5-6 MSG

Saturday, February 07, 2009

To say no to the king

But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him. -- Esther 1:12

In the drama of life, how often did I desire to be cast in the Esther role...the wise one with the message from God to save His people, restore the Kingdom. Perhaps the role of Vashti was always my destiny, certainly in this chapter. And then to find that I am not the only one to play this role as well...

I said no to the king because the King, my Beloved, told me no, that He would not go before me with His joy and His power. I was the one who needed to learn the boundaries, and so here come the consequences.

Beloved, whatever role You give me in Your drama is sweet and life-giving to me, although it may not appear to be so to my eyes right now. Vashti was never mentioned again in scripture, and we do not know how it turned out for her, but I know Your plans for me are good and true. In any case, I praise You! My pleasure is to make Your name famous, to enrich Your Kingdom!

Father, let Your Esther come and save Your people! Let me pray for her and rejoice in her success! Ultimately, in Your success!

"Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she." -- Esther 1:19

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Jesus, The One and Only

Beth Moore's devotional journal was amazing. What was even more amazing was the dialog that went on with Jesus as He spoke lovingly, and sometimes firmly, to me as we went on this journey. So that it is not only hidden in a bookcase, here's the best of it for easy access--as you know, now is a time to need encouragement. So faithfully, I will record it...


I had always known Him. I don't remember the beginnings. He was like an associate, casual friend, meeting and greeting each other as our lives crosses, but very seldom making a date.

Then I started to see Him regularly, getting to know Him. Who He was and what He was about. How attractive He was--strong, tender, wise!

And then one day when we were together, He said He wanted more of my life -- He wanted more of me, was I willing? He asked and I said yes. The day was June 24, 1988.

I once desired to be rich and famous. Jesus, now I want to enrich Your Kingdom and make You famous.

Choose me, Jesus! Perfect me so I do not do harm, and as I do, please give me the wisdom and courage to confess and repent! Purify my heart, my divided conflicted heart and make me whole! Jesus, stand beside me, hold my hand, let me sense Your presence like I never have before.


Satan taunts, "Your God will deny you provision and affirmation."
God says, "Wait on Me, I will supply all your needs. I will renew your strength. I will repay your enemies."
Satan taunts, "Your God gives you the desire to teach and then will not allow you to do it."
God says, "I have given you plenty of opportunity -- seize and delight in them."
God says, "I am not going to waste the gifts I have entrusted to you. You need to wait -- it's part of the training process. "
God says, "I do indeed read your thoughts and I still love you and have a place in the Kingdom for you."


Father, Thank You for inviting me into Your throne room to engage with You over the issues of my life. I want to walk out in a huff. I want to return to my busyness to forget.

But You draw me back. You draw me in. You desire to finish it, the work You began in me, although I resist You. You are faithful.

Hold onto me, Beloved. Be my Everything.


My biggest stumbling block is desiring to please other people, desiring to be "right and good" in people's eyes and analyzing other's feelings to draw conclusions about their motives and figure them out. You desire me to do Your perfect law of love in the light and in the dark, but to have good boundaries.

Let people alone to make their own choices and their own mistakes. Put down the desire to change others but take up the care for yourself and the things Christ has given you charge over.


"The BIG LIE: Satan has convinced us that putting down our self-stuff is some huge sacrifice....Our self-stuff is what makes us most miserable!"

You did nothing wrong by staying there. You were following Me.
You did nothing wrong by leaving, nor did they! You were following Me.
Do not worry, My daughter, even now. Rest in Me and I will not disappoint you or him. Indeed, I will fill and delight you both!


You can be hurt, and angry even. But you need to move to forgiveness if you want to remain in the shelter of My wings.

Let your hurt now be a reminder not to return to this great sin. Bring it to Me, bring it to them if I bid you--but no one else and do not allow others to bring theirs to you.

Barbara, if I could just change you, if you alone would only be obedient to my revealed Word, I could change the face of your corner of the vineyard. Read to know, but allow Me to tell you what to do.


I will build My Church. No one else.

Please do not go where I do not send you. I will not follow you there. I will wait here until you return.

Be at peace. I have shown you over and over that I see your service and I have a plan for you. What I have for you is marked with your name and held in my strong hand. No one will snatch it. I will keep it safe for you and you will see it, at the proper time.


It is unthinkable, Your courage and Your pain -- that You would do this only to save me and present me unblemished to the Father and say, "She is Mine -- I have bought her, look, even with My blood."

Why then would I think You would leave me in this place? Indeed, where ever I go, I have You!

Allow me to see my mission field in where I am now, even in my kitchen, even on the Parkway. Allow me to see You, hear Your voice and take the next step.


" The cross is the open door no man can shut."

Nothing can hurt me, Beloved. You have forgiven even my most horrid sins. My obedience is not to secure Your favor but to free me from bondage, to avoid causing others pain.

You have opened the door. No temptation can shut it!!

Nothing is accidental about being in this place -- You have a plan.


Do not allow what you see to overtake your heart. I have a plan for you! There is an unseen victory and it is Mine. Step in obedience and rejoice! I have overcome the world!!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
--Jude 24-25