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Josh Wade

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

God has a knack for interrupting our plans.

Interruption leads to disruption. Disruption leads to change. Those changes can make bad situations, worse. Especially when we double-down on our plans.

But what if we got ahead of the interruption? Sure, we can’t anticipate and hedge against everything. And shouldn’t.

But we can be less emotionally reactive and more spiritually proactive. By aligning our lives with God’s purpose. The ultimate interruption.

And when the disruption comes, we hold steady. Emotions flow but do not guide choices.

We no longer mind the interruptions. And ask for more.

Another day of quarantine. The ability to hold focus and a positive attitude gets tougher.

Peaks of infections are being reached. The curve is being flattened. This social distancing thing seems to be working.

There’s positive news of restrictions lifting. More folks will be getting back to work soon. Restaurants and other businesses opening in phases. The crawl back to semi-normal begins.

But the news isn’t great for everyone. Schools are closing for the rest of school year. Senior’s graduations postponed. And not held in normal fashion. This right of passage experience won’t be the same.

And parents of young children facing closed day cares. Navigating a return to work will be tough.

What about those who’ve lost their jobs already? What will the long term effects on the economy be? We don’t know yet, but we should prepare for things to not go back to the way they were. Too much damage’s done.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. – Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

We not experiencing evil from the hands of our brothers, like Joseph. (They threw him in a pit and left him for dead. Swell guys.)

But there may be those that consider this pandemic evil. Or we’re living in an evil time. Or complain and point fingers at those in authority. They could’ve done more. Or handled things different.

None of that matters.

We live in a fallen world filled with fallen people. Evil abounds.

Like Joseph, we must embrace that God means all things for good. His glory. Our good. And He’s saving lives. Right now. Because only He can.

Not only those that haven’t heard the good news of the Gospel. Also those drifting and coasting through their Christianity. He’s burning away all the distractions between our hearts and His.

So that He may save more lives.

*Let’s not forget the exhausted nurses, doctors, all the emergency services workers and all those putting themselves in harm’s way to serve us. We can never thank you enough. We appreciate you!

Frustration equals asking a child to do…well, anything. At least anything not involving what they want to do. You’re either ignored or receive the blankest of blank stares. Or, and this is my favorite, they stare you in the eye and say, “No!”. (If you haven’t experienced this, it’s coming.)

Why do they do this?

They’re not ready. They’re not ready to submit to authority. They’re not ready to give control. They’re not ready to be obedient. They’re not even ready to be compliant.

It’s not as though they’re not loved. It’s said and shown to them over and over. But in that moment, do they feel it? Embrace it? Does it overwhelm them to obedience?(*Limited appreciation due to lack of understanding of the depth of love may be at work as well. Turn up the grace.)

No, clearly not.

But then, they’re not ready to listen. More so, they’re not ready to hear. Hearing may lead to a crack in the facade. A sign of weakness of Self. No way they’ll let you “win”.

But don’t we do this to God?

Are we ready to go when He says go?

Are we ready to go where He says go?

Are we ready to sacrifice what must be sacrificed?

And it may be the simplest of things. He may be calling us to spend more time with Him. In prayer and meditating on His Word.

But we say no.

Not with our speech, but with our actions. Autoplay delivers the next episode in this binge session…

We’re not ready. Because like the child we don’t fully understand the depth of His love. Not enough to fully trust. No enough to feel safe despite being scared. Not enough to be obedient. Even in the small things.

But how we desire to be used in big way! To do something sensational for the kingdom!

In Exodus 3, Moses investigated this curious, burning bush. Why was it not consumed? He went in for a closer look.

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”  – Exodus 3:4 (NIV)

Here. I. Am. And God used Him to free the Israelites from Egypt. Moses was ready.

Are we?

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)

This passage tends to be misunderstood. It’s not about being either hot or cold. It’s not about being on fire for God vs having a cold, indifferent heart.

It’s about being useful. Lukewarm is not useful.

We need context to understand:

Jesus was speaking to the church in Laodicia. Located between the cities of Colossae and Heiropolis. Colossae’s water came from cool, refreshing mountain springs. Heiropolis’s water came from a hot, mineral spring. It had medicinal properties. Water from both of these cities were highly useful.

But Laodicia’s water was dirty. Neither hot or cold. Just gross. One taste and you’d spit it out.

Spiritual parallel: are we hot water or cold water (medicinal/refreshing; useful) or are we lukewarm water (lazy; not useful)?

or by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. – Colossians 1:16 (KJV)

The Bible starts with the four most offensive words to mankind.

“In the beginning God”

Nothing riles Self more. Because of everything it implies. Everything starts with God. Everything.

These words weren’t always offensive to us. We chose them to be offensive.

We still choose them to be offensive . All thoughts, all desires, all questions, all arguments, all actions must be brought back into the light of this truth.

The sooner we’re un-offended, the sooner we experience the peace and joy of created design. A taste of what was intended. A taste of things to come!

”but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” – Philippians‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He didn’t have to. But He did.
We don’t deserve His sacrifice. But He suffered for us all the same.

He served with everything He had. Giving his blood, His life, so that we may live.

I don’t know what love is, if that can be ignored.

And how do we live?

Is it emptied to the point of no more of us to give? Every drop in service to the one we proclaim Lord.

Or are we just empty? Filled with hollow pursuits with no eternal value?

But when we are filled with His spirit, we are never empty. We are overflowing with so much love that we must give it away.

Because like Christ, we are emptied of self. And service is the greatest of joys!

Can we really say we’re anxious for nothing? Is God really in control? Do we take every little worry or concern to Him in prayer? Do we have joy in our hearts as we navigate today’s struggles?

We have an opportunity, right now, to take a breath and examine our priorities. To evaluate our beliefs. To put our faith into action.

We have an opportunity to show the whole world what it means to truly follow Jesus.

But our worries can get in the way of effectiveness. Talk to someone about your struggles. Be real. And when someone spills their heart…listen and care. We’re going to see through this and be so much stronger for it.

Everyday we gain more control.

We start a pot of coffee, answer the front door, and start our car from our phone. Apps help us schedule and manage every detail of the day. All these things are cool. But they exist for one purpose and one purpose only…

We crave the illusion of control.

Deep down we know we’re not in control.

We can’t be. We haven’t conquered death.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Shorty after marriage, a friend asked how married life was “treating me”. His tone was clear. He expected the response of a man whose freedom was destroyed by a marriage cliche. He didn’t get the response he desired.

I told him I still do all the things I want to do.

What? No way! She won’t tolerate you always doing your own thing.

You weren’t listening. I still do all the things I want to do. The difference…

What I want to do has changed.

And so it is when we submit to God. Our nature changes. The desire of our heart becomes wanting more of God. Delighting in knowing His heart. Seeing what He sees. Loving how He loves.