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Get Oil and Take Flight

Be like a duck. This is something I’ve taught my children from a very young age. I realized this week it’s something I wasn’t doing myself. Ducks live in the water, and in the sky. They are a bird that swims but also flies. They have a special oil on their feathers that prevents water from absorbing and weighing them down. This oil is a protection for the bird, as there are many more dangers to them on the ground and in the pond than there are in the sky. They need the ability to take flight at a moment’s notice!

When I tell my children to be like a duck I mean, be sure to daily coat yourself in the oil of joy that comes from God. The oil comes from spending time daily in His Word and building your own personal relationship with Him through prayer and worship. Keep your lamps full, and your feathers coated so when it’s time to take off, you are not weighed down by the things of this world and you can fly wherever God is calling you. I’ve been telling my children this for years, but this week I realized I haven’t been doing this consistently. I’ve let the murk and yuck from the world seep in and weigh down my own feathers. This question began to echo in my mind, “How can I teach them to fly, if I’m so weighed down, that I can’t get off the ground?”

Be Set Apart

I’m talking metaphorically of course. I”m not actually flying in the sky, but when it comes to following Jesus and going where He has called, we have to keep our mind, will, and emotions light. Following Jesus requires us to stay somewhat unattached to the world so we can say Yes to Him when he calls. Like the disciples who dropped their fishing nets and followed when He called to them. We too must be willing to leave some things behind in order to step into our destiny and become fishers of men. How do we do this? How do we live in the world, but not be of the world as scripture warns us in Romans 12:2.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We live in this world, but we don’t have to look like this world. We are called to be, set apart from the world. It is easy to let the hurts, disappointments, and temptations of this world soak in and weigh us down. We need the protective oil coating us so we have take flight. This is our home (for now) and it is hard to live here and keep a Heavenly perspective. We live with broken people in a broken world in need of Jesus, but if we don’t keep our feathers coated with oil the yuck and sin will weigh us down and prevent us from flying.

Let it Roll

Ducks live in ponds, that are not always the cleanest of water. It can be murky, dirty, have trash floating in it, and ducks will swim there. But they don’t let that murky water soak in. It rolls off their backs allowing them to fly at a moment’s notice. When I talk to my kids and tell them to be like ducks and let the water roll off, most of the time it’s in reference to an offense. Often, our first response when unkind words are spoken is to take offense. We can’t take flight if we’re heavy from holding offense in our hearts. It will lead to anger and bitterness over time. What we need, and even more exciting, what God desires for us, is that we will be light and free. Not held back by the bondage of sin, hurt, bitterness, and offense.

It’s not as hard as you may think to dry off your feathers, apply oil, and prepare to take flight, but it does take acknowledging that there is a problem. SO shake off that murky water, dry your feathers, and get ready to take flight! Soar into what God created you to do. Get that good protective oil. Apply it to the feathers of your heart, and soar!

What Kind of Slavery Have you Been Freed From?

Here we are April 2020.  Most of the world has been on lockdown for the last 6-8 weeks.  We’ve been fighting an invisible enemy that has completely changed our way of life.  We don’t know when this will end, or what the new normal will look like.  This invisible enemy is attacking not just our physical bodies, but our very way of life.  There are now two distinct and very different worlds, the one before the virus, and the one we now live in. 

That sounds like the beginning of some dystopian novel right?  Some work of fiction, or one of those movies about zombies come to take over the world, and you don’t know who will fall victim next.  In many ways daily life hasn’t changed.  I still get up at about the same time everyday.  We eat three meals a day.  We do school, we cut the grass.  I bought plants and pots to put them in today at the hardware store.  In many ways life hasn’t changed, but then again everything has changed.  We’re told to keep our distance from others when we’re out.  Many people are wearing masks.  The store is out of toilet paper and Clorox wipes and has been for a while.  You see a friend at the store, in the pre-virus world you would instinctively give this friend a hug.  Now there’s a pause and distance is kept.   Sports are canceled, vacations too.  I was supposed to be out of town on a retreat with my husband this weekend, instead we stayed home. 

I’ve found myself stuck lately.  There are many voices talking about a “reset”.  People are saying things like, God is going to use this to draw us back to Him.  I’ve even said, “He’s allowed all the distractions to be removed, so we have no excuses.”  Even with that knowing I’ve been like the Israelites in the desert looking back at Egypt.  Missing all the things left behind.  Today as I was looking back at what’s been left I felt the Lord issue a caution to me;  “don’t get so distracted by what’s been left behind that you forget to look at where I’m is taking you.”  I’ve been working my way through the final minor changes of Livin’ the Dream and making sure it’s ready to go to the printer.  This week as I was busy looking back at my Egypt I felt the Lord whisper, “You need to read your book.”  I want to share a short excerpt from Chapter 10.  This excerpt is a commentary on Exodus 16:1-3.

Book Stack on Wood

Except from Livin’ the Dream, Chapter 10: Overcoming Doubt

“The Israelites are hangry. They’ve been traveling for two months, and they are just tired of being in the desert. They are hungry, it’s taking too long, and they are thirsty. I’m sure the children are getting just a little bit whiny at this point, and they’ve had enough of this ordeal. They have forgotten what life was like in Egypt. Instead of remembering their slavery, all they can think of is how good the food was. They are so consumed with their current suffering that they can’t look ahead to what God has promised them: a land and home of their own, flowing with milk and honey, where they will live freely without taskmasters. They are looking behind at what they left to come here. Their doubt is so bright they’re nearly blinded by it. But what does God do to clear their sight? He sends manna, bread from heaven to comfort His people and draw them back to Himself. He satisfies their hunger. Can I get an amen? With that one miraculous act, He reminds them of all the miracles He performed in Egypt that brought them to this place. When doubt kicks in, it’s time to ask God to send help. Send the manna we need to get over that hurdle, send a reminder of your goodness and promises.”  

We as a culture have been enslaved to many things prior to Covid19.  Those things that had become like gods in our lives are being exposed and removed.  We need to be aware of what God is highlighting in our own lives that had us caught in slavery.  Don’t be quick to return to those things.  Recognize they are gone, mourn if you must, but leave them behind because they are baggage and you can’t take them with you if you want to enter your Promise Land.  It’s time to move forward in our walk with Jesus.  What things is He highlighting that are baggage?  Maybe they were even cozy at one time like a soft blanket, but even cozy blankets can be heavy and take up a lot of room.  If this is truly a divine reset and God is preparing us to move into a new season we must be willing to leave things behind that will be a hindrance to us.  I’m not even saying those things are necessarily sinful, some are, but some are just heavy weights that need to be left behind.  I know for me God is revealing a lot of areas in my life that are just baggage.  He wants to set us free from bondage so we can go where He is taking us.  In the passage above the line that hits me right in the gut is this “Their doubt is so bright they’re nearly blinded by it.”  Oh God that you would open my eyes to see clearly that I wouldn’t be blinded by my own doubt, my own longing to return to Egypt. 

He came to set us free!  He won’t do it by force, it’s up to us to surrender.