Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Delusions of Personal Sovereignty

post signature

“Delusions of Personal Sovereignty”

            Recently while reading a book on handling the crazy makers in our lives, I came across a statement that rocked my soul and I knew I would be sharing it with those I love. The first person I called was our daughter. I was telling her that I daily acknowledge my propensity to anxiety and control but I now see more clearly the WHY of my Default setting on anxiety and control. So what was the quote that caused a fresh epiphany?  Drum roll:

“Control is a tranquilizer for the anxious person.”

I pondered that thought a long time before I called Jessi. How simple to realize that the moment I become anxious, I put on my junior-god badge button and become a Control Freak. The more anxious I am, the more controlling I am! How ironic that God’s Word clearly states: “Be anxious for NOTHING…” which would guide one to the parallel reality of WHO is in control and who isn’t! As Jessi pondered what I shared, later in the day she emailed me the following:

Many of your struggles are often the result of a collision between your plans and God's. Although you knew exactly what you wanted to accomplish and those things that you were determined to avoid, your life didn't unfold as you planned. In some scenarios, it seems as if life is totally out of your control. But, you must rest in the fact that every situation, circumstance, location, experience, and relationship of your life has been under the wise and careful administration of the Lord Almighty .He has known from the beginning exactly what He was going to do and exactly why He did it. From His vantage point there are no slip-ups, no oversights, no accidents, no misunderstandings, and no mistakes. Nothing has fallen through the cracks. Let's go back to Psalm 139: "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16b).

There's a direct connection between delusions of personal sovereignty and the crushing disappointments that grip us in life. We forget who we are and begin to believe that our hands are really the hands on the joystick. We work with dedication and perseverance, but we work like little sovereigns, rather than resting in the One who is sovereign. God is sovereign. You and I are not. (Paul Trip Blog, Feb.20th)

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there we none of them.”(Psalm 139:16)

May this scripture be a friendly reminder of God’s intricate plan for our lives. It is a reminder to me of the silliness of my delusion personal sovereignty and my need to resist using the tranquilizer of control.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Just Another Day Outside the Garden" October 15,2012

post signature
When I was young, I used to be surprised by the bad things that happened to God’s people. I may have been immature enough to entertain the thought that a relationship with God would mean immunization against suffering. I have met hundreds of believers who are like Job’s friends who always assume that suffering is a consequence of one’s disobedience. Recently during several back to back trials, I was sharing with a friend about the confidence that these trials were not judgment but rather “just another day outside the garden.” As I said that phrase it, it captured my heart and has become an encouraging guard on my soul whenever disappointment knocks on my door again. Job penned a description that clearly frames “just another day outside the Garden.”

“Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1

 Notice that the days are FEW but these few days are FULL of trouble. Personally I would prefer having full days with few troubles. When I looked up the word “trouble” in Hebrew it means violent emotion of anger, fear, tremble, torment, rage and restlessness. Consider the reality that man’s days are full of these negative synonyms.  These synonyms are so negative but they are part of “just another day outside the garden.” Although my relationship with God is not immunization against torment, restlessness or trials, my relationship with God gives me privileged access to sufficient grace that sustains me during a day “full of trouble.”

Treasures Missed While Waiting for Perfection

As I have been meditating on this phrase, I have encountered one more nugget. During a moment of great challenge and chaos, I almost passed on time spent with dear friends. The chaos (house half-flooded) seemed like a justifiable “excuse” to not have friends from Seattle stay in our home. Ken and I decided to graciously welcome our friends and we learned an invaluable lesson. Too often people miss the treasures that are hidden amidst the chaos of our lives while waiting for perfection to be restored or attained. Having guests in our home during the flood chaos, allowed for moments of priceless fellowship that we would have missed waiting for our house to be returned to “perfection!”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This morning I was writing to encourage a very discouraged friend. As my heart was breaking for her, the LORD reminded me of the "Anti-Doubt" journal that He led me to make. Then I realized that an "Anti-Doubt" journal would be a great New Year's Resolution for anyone in 2011. This journal can lead you from the "canyon of crazy" to the "a highway of hope."
Go to Barnes and Noble and buy yourself a NEW JOURNAL. This journal is going to be YOUR Anti-Doubt Journal. The only thing you are going to write in it are the Scriptures that God has IN THE PAST and WILL IN THE FUTURE give you to comfort you and sustain you while you live with dreams that have not come true or shattered dreams.
Here is the verse that is the basis of this journal: "You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LROD your God gave you has failed." Joshua 23:14
As you record the particular scrptures in your Anti-Doubt Journa, the reminder will become such comfort. Remember the key to our peace and our deliverance from the "crazy canyon" is inextricably linked to God's Word."

post signature


post signature

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sometimes It Feels Like God is Trying to Kill Us!

“Sometimes it feels like God is trying to kill us –when what He is doing is trying to save us—saving us from loving anyone or anything more supremely than HIM!” (my version of something Tim Keller said). I spent most of yesterday asking God forgiveness--this comment so pierced me--I had been whining. I know that whining is just anger squeezed through a tiny hole. And then the Lord reminded me of a devotional I wrote years ago about not wanting to be buried like Moses in the wilderness--because of my demanding spirit which is manifested through angry whining. I only whine because I love MY COMFORT & My AGENDA more than my GLORIOUS FATHER! My comfort has become a counterfeit god in my life—and I often whine when my COMFORT is disturbed!

For several years, whenever I would read about Moses' anger and the consequence of being deprived of entering the Promised Land, I would grieve that my anger, like Moses’, would cost me the Promised Land (I don't mean heaven, but my inheritance in Jesus). This year, when I read through this passage, I saw that Moses’ anger was a symptom of his lack of trust. I had felt sorry for Moses, because I felt his frustration and anger with a rebellious group of people was a justified anger. After all, Moses was frustrated with a people who could actually doubt after witnessing the parting of the Red Sea! Then God showed me that even Moses, a man of great faith (Heb.11:23-29), struggled with trusting God, and this was manifested through his anger. Whenever I am angry, I consider not only the person or circumstance but also the extent that I am not trusting God. I do not want my tombstone in Moab (Deut.34:1,5-6).

Whether it is anger or lack of trust…my grumbling and complaining is a casual despising of God’s Sovereignty—ouch! Forgive me Jesus!

post signature

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do You Know a Modern “Bezalel?”

(An Early Gift for Your Easter Basket!)

When it was time to build the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, Moses didn’t start taking resumes from skilled craftsmen because he knew God had already chosen the man who was the most skilled, gifted and filled with the Spirit of God. The man chosen was “Bezalel” and his name means: “in the shadow of God.” This man operating in “God’s shadow” built a perfect reflection of God’s script (Exodus 31:1-5).

I have been blessed with a modern “Bezalel” who I shared my heart’s vision about an on-line, free Bible study to give to the world—based on my book Free Yourself to Love. I gave him such “rough, inadequate” ideas and he created something that I am reeling in awe about and I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. Wait until you log on and see what Jim Olsen built for the ministry of this message to the world. I want you to know where the “rough draft” came from before you see the incredible work of a modern “Bezalel.”

This study guide was birthed from my preparation for a class I taught on my new book: Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness. To prepare for this class, I decided to comb through every sentence of each chapter to find the nuggets that I couldn’t bear for someone to miss from the chapter. Each week the class received copies of “Jackie’s must have nuggets.” The class I taught was composed of men and women—each week we went through these must-have nuggets, and one of the participants described them as “cliff notes” for Free Yourself to Love. When the class ended, I realized that my “cliff notes” and quotes would help others who would like to work through this book on forgiveness. So I combined the class notes with the questions at the end of each chapter of the book. These notes, quotes, and discussion questions can be used in various venues: Bible study, Book clubs, SS Class, or home study groups.

Also available with these “cliff notes” from the book are DVD clips (each less than 5 minutes each; there are 8 clips for the study—not every chapter has a clip) of my teaching various aspects of the forgiveness message. These clips are available on this site to download—free of charge! The outlines are also free for downloading for your group.

DRUM ROLL!!! Are you ready for this awesome gift? Then go to and see what a “modern” Bezalel created to help take this liberating message to the world. Help us spread the word—click on and go deeper into the heart of having the unoffendable heart of Jesus.

post signature

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Valentine from M & E

Reading through the Bible every year is like a reunion with old friends. Recently I began to tear up realizing that I was going to be “reading” not only a familiar passage but verses that profoundly impacted my life.

“Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, ‘God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family. Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.’”(Gen.41:51,52)

As I read this verse, the Lord gave me a fresh thought. Fruitfulness in grief (suffering) is possible but not without forgetting—letting go(forgiving) the past. For 18 years I have been wearing a bracelet with the name Ephraim on it. Declaring to all that God can make you “fruitful in suffering.” Now I see that Ephraim is only part of the healing equation. Manasseh--forgetting…letting go…forgiving the past and the people who comprise the painful past—the equation is M & E. Whenever you are facing grief or someone you love is facing grief/suffering—pray for the blessing of Manasseh & Ephraim (Gen. 48:20). When a person suffers, their view of God is sometimes blurred. M & E can help with adjusting one’s view and the person will end up with perfect vision—“50/20” as demonstrated in Genesis 50:20.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

I know that 20/20 is perfect vision physically but 50/20 is perfect vision spiritually.
May the blessing of M & E be a Valentine for your heart this year.

A bonus thought: my life was profoundly impacted by a college professor who taught me the incomparable significance of a consistent, daily growing relationship with Jesus through time in His Word. This college professor was M.E. Cravens. Oh the impact of M.E. in the Word and in life!

post signature