What You Want to Give To Me……

“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook.   There’s a couple of things that really struck me about this……

“Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?”   That is so true – so many of the problems in the 1st World stem from our belief that we are what we have.    We are important because we drive the fancy cars and go to the right schools and golf at the right places.   This prayer unwraps that idea and says, “God, who am I if I don’t clink to those “things” that I know don’t matter?”   I’m scared to admit that I’m not what I own.

“Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?”     I wrote earlier about accepting the cure.   We don’t need stuff, we don’t need a list of impressive degrees, we don’t need a long list of accomplishments.   We just need to accept the cure and then do what God tells us to.

”I am……what you want to give me.”   How much richer, deeper and more meaningful our lives would be if we focused on that rather than getting caught up in the “acquisition” of stuff, of feelings of importance and instead said, “God, what do you want?   What do you want me to do?   What do you want to give me?”  

It’s all His anyway, why do we act like it’s all about us?

Tom

The Future–What Are Your Plans?

As my time at GLA winds down, I was having a conversation with someone I’ve known for a while (but not someone who I’d consider a friend – just more of an acquaintance).   We were getting reconnected regarding family, jobs, banking, my time at GLA and I told him that my time at GLA is very close to being done.

“What are your plans?   What do you see as your career moving forward?”

My response?   There were two parts:

To Find Out What God Wants – I know that God’s got a plan.   I could talk or write for hours (if not longer) about how God has been at work orchestrating our adoption of our two kids, our longer term involvement in Haiti, my move from banking to the non-profit world.   It has been obvious that God has been at work in all of this.   God is drawing one chapter to a close.    He hasn’t allowed me to turn the next page yet – glimpses of it, but not the full chapter.    My goal is to find out what God wants.

And do it.   Once I find out what God wants, I want to do it.   Because I know that if I do what He wants, I’ll be able to do it with His blessing, with His leadership and with the internal joy (not happiness – those are two different things) that comes from following God’s call.

So, I don’t know what’s next, but I know who does.   And that’s all I need to know right now.

Tom

P.S. Stay tuned, I promise I’ll share this journey with you……

Lessons from Noah

Genesis 6:22 – “Noah did everything God commanded him to do.”   (The Message)

It’s simple.   Do what God tells you.

It’s hard.   Because God isn’t always standing right next to you actually talking to you like he was with Noah.

It’s simple.   It says in the Bible what God wants us to do.

It’s hard.  Because some of the commands in the Bible don’t translate clearly from Bible times to today’s times.

It’s simple.   “‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’  Mark 12:29-31 (MSG)

It’s hard – the busyness, materialism and constant noise of our world make it hard to hear God let alone obey His commands.

But it’s worth it.   Noah followed God’s commands and had the opportunity to play a huge part in the future of God’s people.

If you and I follow God’s commands, what role is He having us play in the lives of His people?

And they are ALL his people, whether in the 1st world, the 3rd world, all of them.

Tom

50,296 Acts of Love

So, this morning, after I dropped my daughter off at school, the local Christian radio station played Jason Gray’s song, “Acts of Love.”   You know the line?

“With every act of love, we bring the kingdom come.”

“God put a million, million doors in the world
For his love to walk through
One of those doors is you”

This afternoon, my daughter and I spent some time finishing up the inventory of the diapers that we’re going to be sending on the container down to Haiti next week.   IMG_1253[2]

And guess what – we saw and counted 50,296 acts of love.

That’s right, 50,296 diapers so far – with another 40 boxes to come yet.    That’s 50,296 times where someone said,  “I want to help the kids in Haiti.”

IMG_1257[1]

With every act of love, we bring the kingdom come.

IMG_1261[1]

With 50,296 acts of love, the kingdom is closer to the children in Haiti than it was.

It’s not just about diapers.   It’s not just about clean bottoms.   It’s about listening to the heart of God and caring for the little ones who don’t have a family who can care for them.

Thank you, 50,296 times – with more to come!

Tom

On Limiting God

Five Times.

Five times in the last 48 hours.

Five times in the last 48 hours, the topic of limiting God has come up.

Five different locations, five different situations.

The same theme – God is way bigger than we expect He is.

Don’t feel like your plans are too big – if they are aligned with God’s goals, they are probably too small.

Don’t feel like your problems are too big – God is bigger than any problems.

Don’t feel like the challenges with your kids are too big – God can grant healing and restoration even when we don’t see it.

Don’t feel  like a job loss is the end of all things good – that would limit God – instead look at it as an opportunity to determine what God’s plan is.

Will God always give us what we want?   Hah, not a chance.   Will it always be easy?   Not a chance.

But God’s plans are way bigger than ours.

Open your eyes, open your arms.   You’re limiting God.

I’m limiting God.

And He Has No Limits to what He can do.

Tom