Monday, October 24, 2011

Voices in your head

There are two voices. One screams loudly for your attention. It's hard to ignore. The other is a still small voice, maybe only a whisper. Sometimes you must be still, free from the distractions of television and telephone, to hear it.

"You are far from perfect," the loud voice taunts. "You're always making mistakes. Everyone else is better than you." The enemy voice strips away your worth. "Don't be yourself."

"I am perfect. I never make mistakes." The whisper of the soft voice holds the authority of a loving Father. "You are valuable. I created you for a purpose that no one else can accomplish." Peace wraps around you like a blanket on a on a cold day. "Be who I say you are."

One voice speaks a lie. He is the enemy, a vandal trying to cover the beauty of your soul with graffiti in hopes of disabling your potential.

The other is the voice of Truth, the one true God. He washes the graffiti and uses your mistakes to build the beautiful architecture of your character.

There are two voices. Who are you going to believe?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sarai's Story

Psalm 28:1-2

To you, LORD, I call;
   you are my Rock,
   do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
   I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
   as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
   toward your Most Holy Place.

 Can you relate to David as he cries out to the LORD for help? Do you feel like God hears you? Does He give you the help or answers you seek? I'm guessing many of you will answer no. The answers or help we seek are rarely the answers or help He gives according to his perfect plan. Who can presume to say they know a better way than God's way?

Rest assured though, Sisters, He does hear and He is working His perfect plan through your situation.

Genesis 12 begins the tale of a woman named Sarai. Sarai was far from perfect. She was moody, impatient and sometimes foolish. But her life was far from easy. In a day when a woman's worth was based on her ability to produce offspring, Sarai was barren. Her husband decided to pack her up and move her across the country (probably without consulting her first) far away from everyone she knew and loved, then he pawned her off as the sex slave of a foreign ruler, left her to run off to war, got Sarai's servant girl pregnant then wouldn't stand up for her when the servant made her life miserable. God even seemed to make a promise he didn't keep - He promised her a son, but her child bearing years dwindled then ceased all together. At the age of 90 this post-menopausal woman had been written off as a loss, a total waste of time, a laughing stock, a failure. Her husband believed her to be the barrier between himself and God's promises. She felt worthless and no one would have argued with her. Her very name had become associated with failure.

Have you ever felt utterly defeated? I know I have. Perhaps this defeat led to a cry to God like David's words from Psalms 28:1-2.

But God had not forgotten about Sarai. In Genesis 17:15-16, God appeared to her husband, Abraham, and told him “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”  

Why did God say this to Abraham instead of just appearing directly to Sarai? God begins this promise with a command. "You are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah." Sarah means princess. God told her husband to quit calling her names. He was commanding Abraham to quit viewing Sarai as a disappointment. In fact, God took it one step further. Not only was Abraham to drop the stigma, he was to call her princess. When Abraham went to Egypt with Sarai, he didn't claim her. Abraham allowed her to be taken into Pharaoh's harem because he would not claim her as his wife. By renaming Sarai "Sarah", God, the King of kings, claimed her as his princess. He elevated her to a position of the highest honor. God stood up for her. Abraham was no longer allowed to even utter her name without giving her honor.

How incredible is that? I serve a God that stands up for the broken and defeated. He stood up for me and He stood up for Sarah. And even more amazing - that's not all God did! God kept his promises! God gave Sarah a son. And through that child God raised nations, great kings (including David who wrote Psalm 28), and even God's own son - Jesus Christ. Sarah may have questioned his timing and methods, but He knew what He was doing all along. The birth of Isaac, Sarah's son, was clearly miraculous. If he had come within the natural course, God's intervention may have been ignored, overlooked or explained away. Both Sarah's inability to have children and the extreme delay in the coming of the promised son were intentionally plotted in God's perfect plan. God was not punishing her or ignoring her. Through all of that pain and heartache, He was making it obvious that she was His chosen princess.     

Are you hurting? Do you feel forgotten, under-appreciated, worthless? Take heart, Sister. God has not forgotten you! He will claim you as His princess. He will stand up for you! He will fight for you. He will be your strength and your shield. Never give up hope. David ends Psalm 28 with this:

Psalm 28:6-7

Praise be to the LORD,
   for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
   my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
   and with my song I praise him.

God did not give up on David. He did not give up on Sarah. He did not give up on me. He will not give up on you. Cry out to Him. He will hear you.

Feel free to post prayer requests in the comments or email me. I will gladly pray with you.