Thursday, January 18, 2007

Time to Make the Donuts

Isaiah 6
1 In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.

5 Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

9 He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.' 10 "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed." 11 Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered, "Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate, 12 "The LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. 13 "Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump."

From "My Utmost for His Highest:"
God did not address the call to Isaiah; Isaiah overheard God saying,"Who will go for us?" The call of God is not for the special few, it is for everyone. Whether or not I hear God's call depends upon the state of my ears; and what I hear depends upon my disposition. "Many are called but few are chosen," that is, few prove themselves the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ whereby their disposition has been altered and their ears unstopped, and they hear the still small voice questioning all the time, "Who will go for us?" It is not a question of God singling out a man and saying, "Now, you go." God did not lay a strong compulsion on Isaiah; Isaiah was in the presence of God and he overheard the call, and realized that there was nothing else for him but to say, in conscious freedom, "Here am I, send me."

Get out of your mind the idea of expecting God to come with compulsions and pleadings. When our Lord called His disciples there was no irresistible compulsion from outside. The quiet passionate insistence of His "Follow Me" was spoken to men with every power wide awake. If we let the Spirit of God bring us face to face with God, we too shall hear something akin to what Isaiah heard, the still small voice of God; and in perfect freedom will say, "Here am I; send me."

This scripture and what "My Utmost for His Highest" has to say about it speaks to me on many different levels. For me, there is a call to change and not in the ever-so-obvious "Here am I, send me" passage.

It has been nearly a month since I have shared my thoughts with you through this blog. It has been nearly that long since I have immersed myself in true devotion with God - except for in church. In this month I have experienced incredible change. This change has been wondrous and exciting; humbling and provoking. But this morning God reminded me of something. I have not been communicating with Him in devotional time and I have not been sharing His blessings to me with you. A sense of stagnancy and confusion has been the result. I found myself in an attitude of repentance this morning realizing once again as I continue to "expect the blessings to flow" God expects something of me first. Ouch. It was then that this passage in Isaiah spoke to my spirit and I knew what I had to do.

When I read the first few verses in Isaiah 6, my spirit is reminded that I, like Isaiah, have seen God. No, I have not seen His face surrounded by Seraphim, but I have seen His power working in my life and in the lives of those around me. I have experienced His love. I have felt His arms around me rocking me to sleep like an infant in her Father's arms. Yes, I KNOW my God is REAL.

Verse 5 demonstrates to me the ever-so-overwhelmed feeling that we experience as Christians. "God, I know You, but look at me, I'm a lowly person surrounded by lowly people who are backbiting and evil and I'm only one person in a nation of ugliness and a world of war and, and, and...." - you fill in the blank. How many times do we feel overwhelmed by the evil of this world and wonder how God could possibly expect "little ole me" to make a difference?

And then... verse 6. Just as Isaiah's lips were touched with that burning coal and his sins were forgiven and his iniquities were taken away, I too have been forgiven. God has made my sins as far as the East is from the West. With this sense of "newness," I find myself calling out... "Here am I, send me."

But it isn't that easy, is it? Sure, we feel excited to serve God at times, but then our "selves" get in the way. In our every day life, our dispositions block the way of God. We stop up our own ears from hearing God's call to us. We want to do what God wants us to do, but we also want to do what WE want to do. And sometimes the places that He puts on our hearts to "go" and the things that He gives us to "do" are "below" us. And we chuckle inside and say to God, "Surely, You don't mean me Lord." This brings me to the title of this blog today.

God has been reckoning with my spirit of Entitlement. For years now, I have been building my resume. I have been making connections, creating networks, becoming one of the "Who's Who" of Lewisburg - in my own mind. I have a college degree, which, may I add, I completed in 3 1/2 years and managed to make the Dean's List. I have worked at places of prestige. I have rubbed elbows with Congressmen.

God has given me a Vision to create a Center for the Arts, but in the meantime, my family needed cashflow now. I have to get my husband to stop working two jobs before his heart condition kills him. And although God was really blessing us and continues to do so, I knew it was time for me to return to work. So I submitted resumes EVERYWHERE. I tend to be a Jane-of-all-trades and have the experience to back it up, so I have one resume for Development jobs, one resume for University work, one resume for secretarial needs, one resume for writing. But in the end, after nearly a year of putting out my resumes and always getting the same response, "Well you were one of our final candidates, but we went with this person," God put it on my heart that I needed to learn to be a servant.

I needed to knock down this sense of entitlement and accept what He gives me.
I needed to praise Him for doing so.
I needed to see that the Center for the Arts was about HIM, not me - His Glory, not mine.
I needed to get a job - not a profession - a job.

Monday, January 8, 2007, I started my job as a Donut Fryer in the Bakery at Weis Markets in Lewisburg. I begin work at 3 AM. Yes, I said 3 AM. I have never worked so hard at one job in all of my life. From the moment you get on the floor, you're flying. The fresh donuts need to be in the case by 7 am and then you start your dough and roll out the donuts for the next day. It is backbreaking. It is exhausting. It is mind-boggling. But I praise God that He has given me this opportunity to help my family. I thank God that there might be someone in that Bakery that needs to see my light shine. I praise God that in a couple of months time, Derek WILL be able to quit his second job. I praise God that He has reminded me that I am owed NOTHING because HIS GRACE is sufficient for me.

And then verse 13 of Isaiah, Chapter 6 blazons itself on my heart:
13 "Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump."

Here am I, Lord. Send me. Thank you for "felling" my "self" and my sense of entitlement. May this stump that remains be used as a holy seed for your Glory. Amen.