Losses

 

gateofnewbeginings_lI found myself strangely moved.

The other day a pastor friend, who is walking through new beginnings of his own, sent me a copy of this Thomas Kinkade painting from 2005 titled “Gate of New Beginnings.”  I have always appreciated the work of “the Painter of Light,” but mostly at a distance. This one felt up close and personal.

Here’s what Kinkade himself said about it: [click to continue…]

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Broken RoadThis is a story about a father and son.

About a pathway to prosperity and strength.

About how that pathway separated them, then brought them back together again.

It’s a story of shattered dreams, unspeakable grief, profound loneliness, and the ultimate family reunion.

This is the story of the Broken Road, and how God used it in two people’s lives to rewrite history – theirs, and yours.

Psalm 105 contains an interesting description of the father, Jacob:

Israel also came into Egypt;
Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And [God] caused His people to be very fruitful,
And made them stronger than their adversaries.

Sounds simple enough.  But let me ask you a question. If you were going to write a plan to get somebody to a place of fruitfulness and strength, how would you script it?

Start with a dream, maybe?

Then a few targeted objectives?

Maybe a good strategic plan, with a collaborative partnership or two?

Throw in some hefty funding, maybe some high-dollar training, and a few little victories to establish momentum, and you’re on your way, right?

That’s not exactly how this story went down.  [click to continue…]

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I have a friend who’s living in-between.  He once had a position of ministry and fulfilled calling, and believes he’ll have another one again.  In between, he waits – preparing for the day of the Second House.

I have another friend who was blindsided by an unwanted divorce.  He has suffered the loss of a family, a vision, and a sense of being at home.  Still, he waits – convinced that he will see, in some measure, the day of the Second House.

I can relate to both, but for different reasons.  More than 10 years ago, I began a Second-House journey of my own – explainable only by the stunning grace of God.  I have watched in awe as dreams I had given up on, callings I had once felt, and opportunities I once squandered began to be fulfilled.  More than a God of second chances (which He is), He has shown me that He is a God of second seasons, second lives, sometimes second families, and even second callings.

He’s the God of the Second House. [click to continue…]

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(How to Restore Your Losses, Part 2)

Ground Zero Construction Site, New York

Ground Zero Construction Site, New York

In the previous post I talked about the fact that at the end of Job’s saga, the Lord restored his losses.  For most of this righteous man’s painful episode, the end of the story was yet to be told about him… an important thing to remember when we encounter seasons of great loss.

One thing I left hanging was that Job was required to participate the process.  Make no mistake about it: this was a man who was intimate enough with God to be honest with Him about his feelings and pain.  But something changed between the ranting and the receiving.  I have a feeling the same may be true of you and me, too, if we want to see our losses restored.

1.  Recognize God as a God of purpose.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted,” Job said (Job 42:2, ESV).  Job acknowledged not just that God had a plan, but that His intentions and purposes are good.  He also submitted to that purpose – even when he didn’t have answers. [click to continue…]

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(Note:  I make no claims to be a prophet, so I write this with a bit of fear and trembling.  But I believe a day of restoration and change is coming to a significant number people worldwide.  Pardon the timing, but it has little-to-nothing to do with the upcoming elections.  I haven’t had a stirring in my spirit on this level in more than 10 years.  For reasons I’ll explain next week, all I know to call it is the day of the Second House.  Make no mistake about it – these are heady, often stressful times.  Things that can be shaken will be, so that the things that can’t be shaken will remain.  But those who hear God’s call, trust God’s heart, and courageously obey God’s direction will enter into a season, like Israel, when their latter glory will be greater than the former.  This post and the next one will serve as an introduction to that.)

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It was January 3, 1993 – more than 15 years ago – and it remains the greatest comeback in NFL history.  At halftime the Buffalo Bills, their starting quarterback injured, trailed the Houston Oilers with mighty quarterback Warren Moon by a score of 35-3 in an American Conference playoff game.  Backup Frank Reich led the team to a stunning upset.  The score:  41-38.

Most of us aren’t football players, professional or otherwise.  But we all experience adversity when, like the Bills, our backs are pressed against the wall.  Sometimes we’re beyond distress; we’re beaten.  These times of adversity almost always involve losses of some kind:

  • money (how ‘bout them markets?)
  • friendships
  • joy
  • health
  • dreams
  • family

LifeVesting?  Designing your future?  Ha!  To quote the pained psalmist in slavery, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:4). [click to continue…]

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