Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Desert Precedes Destiny - Joseph

I have always appreciated the story of Joseph and find it to be one that has many layers.  At various times through my life, God has used the biblical account of Joseph along with authors who have unique insight into the story to handle my heart, heal up wounds, or help me see things more clearly. One such book was written by R.T. Kendall and entitled God Meant It For Good.  From February 17th, 2007- until January 4th, 2009 as I cried for nearly everyday.  Desert experience for sure.  Thought my best days were behind me.  Wondering if I had really heard from God on this one.  Clung to the truths in the R.T. book like a life-line.

Now, 10 years later I am intentionally drawing close to the deserts-stories again.  This time with different circumstances and a completely different perspective.  Lessons learned the first time around need not be visited again.  So here I am contemplating the story of Joseph from new lens and perspective. Here's my new take visualized through the various coats worn by Joseph through out his life.

Coat 1 -Joseph's coat of many colors.  I was given a coat in 1995 by my father when we traveled to Norway. I wanted something that was uniquely Scandinavian but didn't scream costume when worn in the USA.  I found what I wanted.  Love that coat to this day, wear it with pleasure wrapped in special memories of my daddy and our heritage as well as the travels we shared.  A coat of favor.  Joseph was also given a coat.  It spoke of favor but also favoritism.  This was the trouble.  Driven to jealousy, his ten brothers of another mother(s), were offended.  And as the Bible says - "a brother offended is harder to be won than a city" (Proverbs 18:19). This coat of favor, given to the self-proclaimed dreamer, was difficult for those around him.  What is it we can learn from receiving the coat of favor?

Coat 2 - Joseph's coat left behind. No one faces temptation - except that which is common to man. This means that the scent of seduction and secrets wafted by Joseph is the same odor that comes today in our day. Joseph said no and ran.  He executed with word and deed - orally and physically.  These are good prescriptions for the way to resist the devil.  "If we will resist, the devil must flee" (James 4:7).  And sometimes we need to do the fleeing.  The coat became the evidence used against him.  Not everything is aways as it seems.  It is important to remember that God keeps good records.  he always sees everything that is happening. Hidden by most but not from God. What is it that we can learn from leaving the coat of temptation behind?

Coat 3 - Joseph's prison coat. I have never been to prison but I understand being wrongly accused and misjudged.  Few of us have gone through life without this feeling of harsh misunderstanding.  Nothing gives us the feeling of injustice quite like that feeling.  Something thinking they have the full story, having been lied to, having seen or felt something that was the wrong impression.  It is tough.  What is tougher is to forgive and forget.  That is what Joseph chose to do - we know this because he continued to walk in the faith of his family, continued to believe for a better day, continued to interpret dreams and believe in himself.  He didn't let the prison coat define him or defy his destiny.  No one else believed him - but he believed in himself and the God who wrapped himself in silent presence even within a prison wall. God said about himself, "When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly" (Psalm 72:5). What is it that we can learn from enduring a coat of injustice?

Coat 4 - Joseph's royal coat and ring.  Finally, promotion came.  Promotion is something we all long for - the idea of reward for hard work, long hours, and pure sweat equity. But promotion seems to elude so many.  The pastor of our church talks frequently about being promotable instead of seeking promotion.  It seems to be in God's plans that He decides when, where, and how promotion comes.  God determines the final outcome. There are 32 Bible Verses that specifically mention promotion. I particularly love this one "For not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert come exaltation; But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another" (Psalm 75:6-7). What is it that we can learn from yearning for and finally wearing the coat of promotion?

Our Joseph story is yet another clear example of how desert precedes destiny.

As I close out another year in blogging - I sincerely pray the best for your 2020, a new decade, and new fresh revelation.  Wherever you find yourself, whatever coat you may be wearing, may God be near you as you keep your heart steady on the Promises and your eyes on the Promise Land.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Desert Precedes Destiny - Jacob

I am a twin but it never felt that equal.  Twin has a connotation of mutual but I have been at an disadvantage since the moment I was born. Holding onto the heel of my brother, I have been trying to have everything he has from our dual womb experience.  I know a lot about birthrights and blessings.  But I was given neither.  My twin brother, on the other hand, was given everything.

So I tricked my way into the birthright.  Soup of the day rendered me birthright for life.  Oddly enough, it brought me only heartache.  I realized, what I really wanted was the approval of my father. If only he would say I was okay.  If only he would bless me. So once again, aided by my mother, I tricked my way into a blessing.  Sheep in wolf's clothing got the job done and once again, a bowl of soup. I received the blessing I had coveted for so long. But once again, instead of joy, despair and discouragement was the result.  I found myself fleeing death itself and ended up in the desert.

Stone for pillow and ground for bed.
Long night of struggle and restlessness.

But the unexpected comfort of angels,
ascending and descending above my head.

I woke with a new sense of hope and promise. I turned my pillow-rock into a stone-altar.  Pouring oil on sacred stone, I marked a memory.  Ventured off to family where I believed I had found my people with my Uncle Laban.  I still sought blessing and birthrights in a new form only to wake on my wedding night for more trickery. Son-in-law took on whole new meaning.  But years later - 20 to be exact - I left that area of my mother's family and returned home.  I returned with many earthly possessions and a large family as well.  Still seeking the one thing that eluded me - blessing. I traveled back through the desert and revisited all the places my Grandfather Abraham's feet had traveled - Hebron, Shechem and Bethel.  Finally, at the edge of the water...

I split up my family and things and prepared 30 camels for a peace offering to my twin.  Maybe still thinking about the soup transaction. Seeking forgiveness. Craving blessings. Regretting the birth order. Scared. Once again I found myself in a restless night of sleep. This time a Heavenly Being came to me personally.
We wrestled, wrestled, my whole life wrestling - since the womb.
This time, I wouldn't let go until I received a blessing.
And there on sacred ground, scared, I did get a blessing and a name change, too.

Jacob means "Supplanter - one who wrongly takes the place of another," whereas the name Israel is a combination of the verb "to strive with" and a designation "for one who wrestles with God and prevails" (according to the torah.com) but I didn't need a dictionary to understand the change it brought.
I thought I was looking for birthright from my mother, blessings from my father, forgiveness from my brother, when I was really looking for it all from God after all - the Only One who gives all His children birthrights, blessings, and forgiveness and changes our names, proving once again that desert precedes destiny.

Now I lay me down to sleep. 
I pray thee Lord, my soul to keep.
Thy love be with me through the night,
And wake with me thy morning light.
Stone for pillow, ground for bed;
While angels dance around my head. 
I wrestle, wrestle through the night,
I wake with blessing - heaven's light.*

*Traditional Prayer, adapted and new words, Michelle Lee Thompson 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Desert Precedes Destiny - Abraham

 I have said this many times before as I sit on the ground and share the stories with the children....

"The desert is a dangerous place and no one goes there unless they really have to.  At night, it is so cold and during the day it is so hot.  People get lost in the desert and the mingling of wind, sand and sun is uncomfortable. Food and water cannot be found in the desert so people are often hungry and thirsty.  It is a dangerous place and no one goes there unless they really have to.

There was one man who knew about desert wanderings.  His name was Abram.  And one day, Abram came close to God and God came to Abram and Abram knew exactly what God wanted him to do - leave the intellectual city of Ur, and go to a new land, a land that God would show him.  And, one more thing - Abram would become the father of many nations.  There it was - The Promise.  Holding tight to the words, Abram did what God impressed on his heart, took his wife Sarai, and started walking. First, along the comfort of the Tigers and Euphrates rivers - all the way to the caravan city of Haran, and finally, leaving the comforts of the fertile crescent, they went into the desert, not knowing where they were going, waiting for a promised child and the wandering towards the Promise Land (adapted from Godly Play, by Rev. Jerome Berryman). "

Promises First, Desert Second -
Through the life of Abram and Sarai - who eventually become Abraham and Sarah, we can see the principles of "desert precedes destiny."  We know that all begins with God. And with His Promises.  That call, that whisper, that God-sized idea is the beginning.  And as it is so often, the testing comes right after the calling.  The promise followed by desert. 

Desert Precedes Destiny -
In the desert with Abram, we watch him build altar after altar - from Hebron, to Bethel, to Shechem, to Egypt, back to Shechem (yes, even back-tracking) and still, no fulfillment of the promise.  No child. No promise land. But yet Abram kept the faith - held to the promise - kept on walking.

Promises to Promise Land -
Then one day, it happened. Three strangers came to confirm the promise of God.  Abram and Sarai laughed at the preposterous supposition that in their old age, they would be parents.  But this promise wasn't about them - it was about God.  God proved this as He infused His name inside of their new names - AbraHAm and SarAH (the AH and HA meaning breath of God).  And with God-breathed things, all things are possible.  With God, nothing is impossible. And they did have a baby - a baby boy.  Twenty-five years after receiving the promise, the promise came true.  

"Is anything too hard for God?" 

Word of Life Bible Study by Francis Dixon (wordsoflife.co.uk/series 22) gives a beautiful summary of this impossible dream. "Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 –- and look at Genesis 18:11. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for Sarah to bear a child. At first Abraham laughed at the idea (17:17), but afterwards Sarah laughed also (18:12) –- and then it was that the Lord Himself said, ‘‘Is anything too hard for the Lord’’. Well, is anything……?
Consider the following five propositions; turn to all the scripture references given and see how God loves to do hard things."

There is no PROMISE too hard for the Lord to fulfil.

There is no PRAYER too hard for the Lord to answer.

There is no PROBLEM too hard for the Lord to solve.

There is no PERSON too hard for the Lord to save.

There is no PLACE too hard for the Lord to revive.

Sandwiched between sun and sand, we have the promises of God. I took this simple Celtic Prayer, found below, and wrote a simple song to remind myself of these truths. To remind me of Abraham and Sarah. To remind others of the sandwiching of promises. To help us know, as we desert-dwell and wilderness-walk, that everywhere we go, our feet are marking territory of the promise land.  Everywhere we go, God goes with us. And nothing is too hard for Him. It is almost as if you could hear Abraham and Sarah singing this song through their desert experience...

God before me.
God behind me.
God above me.
God beneath me.
I walk with God - He walks with me.

Land before me.
Wind behind me.
Stars above me.
Sand beneath me.
I walk with God - He walks with me.
Surrounded by His Love eternally.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Desert Precedes Destiny - Jesus

I so badly wanted a different theme.  A different outcome. The story of Nehemiah to be my story - exactly.  Right down to the 52 day miracle construction project.  Going right from one location to our new location with no detours, no delays, no disappointments.

But that isn't what happened.  52 days turned into 52 weeks.  Delays happened with permits and people. Governments and grants. And disappointment started setting in and with it came a detour.  One we hadn't expected and tried our hardest to avoid.  But it was unavoidable. We needed to find a temporary location and move our entire operation with 300 children and 50 members and what resulted in 18 moving trucks and countless expenses piling up in one hurried summer.

We sure did need a new theme and one seemed too obvious. "Desert Precedes Destiny." (Ironically it came out the first time as "dessert proceeds destiny" which now has resulted in sweet treats at every staff function :).

So we received the "promise."  We knew God was in this ministry and that it was His Idea.  We knew that the God who begun the good work would see it to completion.  We knew that when God closes doors, He opens windows.  And we knew He didn't bring us this far to leave us.  So, with promise of God, tucked in our traveling clothes, we started walking toward the Promise Land.

Thinking about this theme and those who have experienced desert experiences my thoughts went to Jesus. I shared the following with our staff in at the beginning of the school year.

Jesus knew about the desert. He was baptized in the Jordan. Father, Son and Holy Spirit revealed as water, wind and the word "This is my beloved son, the son whom I love, in whom I am well-pleased." Mark 1:11 - the voice came from heaven.

And immediately Jesus went to the desert. His identity was revealed and confirmed only to be tested.

So Jesus finds himself in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  Hungry, thirsty, tired, and worn down.

The evil one comes and says:

Turn these rocks into bread. Jesus answers "Man cannot live by bread alone."  In the desert, it is easy to be tempted to think we get what we need from other people.  Even food. We need to resist this by realizing all we need comes from Jesus.  I found this to be true during my "breakfast with Jesus" season. We need Jesus' presence more than daily bread.

Throw yourself off the temple and the angels will catch you. Jesus answers "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." In the desert, we are tempted to do things our own way.  We put our toes over the boundary. We touch fire and hope not to be burned.  We make excuses. We turn things just a little bit to be self-serving. We resist this by true devotion with no deviation. Knowing the word of Lord, believing the Book cover to cover and practicing what it says with no compromise. We can't compromise or justify a deviation from the truth. We need to stay true to the truth.

Transfer your worship and bow down to me and all these kingdoms of the world will be yours. Jesus answers "You should worship the Lord God and Him only shall you serve."  In the desert, we are tempted to lose faith in God completely.  We doubt. We drift away.  Soon we find ourselves bowing down to other gods. This can only be done by not bowing down and fanning the flames of faith. We must have faith in the promise we have received and remember who we are from our baptism experience.  We are God's. We are redeemed. We are dead to ourselves and raised to life in Christ.

It was true about Jesus - His Desert preceded His Destiny.  We can learn from Him and follow in His footsteps.

Finally, we (my mom, Mrs. Lee and I) sing this simple song with the children...

Forty days and forty nights.
Jesus walked in desert sod.
The devil tempted him. The devil tempted him.
Jesus said "Go away. I serve God."

Text by Tamara M. Albrecht
Tune from Symphony No. 1, 2nd mvt.
Composed by Gustav Mahler, 1860-1911

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Breakfast with Jesus

It was late-August, last year. It was so hard I choked down the tears and kept walking.  Day after day I would come down the stairs in my townhome, glance into the kitchen, and look the other way. It wasn't too long before that I used to stop, sit at our maple kitchen table, with candle lit, and my favorite dishes, and eat breakfast.  That was because she was there.  She, an early riser and highly disciplined, arrived in the kitchen before me and prepared a beautiful breakfast. Usually frothed whole milk in espresso, avocado toast or grapefruit, or cheese bread or overnight oats - and always a good conversation before we started our day.

But that was then.  This was now.

After she left, the desire to stop in the kitchen or eat at all dissipated.  I wondered in my heart - is this really God's plan?  To give us beautiful babies and raise them around kitchen tables and tuck them into warm beds with a kisses goodnight and simple prayers and wake them up with cheerful songs and go to church and watch movies with buttered popcorn and yes, eat meals together - just to wave goodbye and have them grow up and leave? I choked down tears again.

August morphed in March and I still sad. Still hadn't stopped in the kitchen.

Then a change happened.  Lent rolled around as seasons do.  They don't stop for grief or glory or any reason at all. They just come.  And I found myself asking the Lord, "what would you like me to give up?" and He gently answered me in my conscience,

"I don't want you to give up anything. I want you to do something.  I want you to have breakfast with me."

It was that simple.  
An invitation to take and eat.
To light a candle.
To make some coffee.
To eat buttered toast.
To open the One Year Bible and pull up a chair for Jesus.

Breakfast with Jesus.

It started late-March and it changed me, more than I could have imagined.

My wounded heart began to heal.
I felt myself growing up and embracing a new normal.
I stated concentrating on what I did have instead of what I didn't.
I wiped my tears - although they kept coming (all the way until August 2019).
But it was a beginning.

And then the miracles started coming.  Right around March 27th, 2019 (my brother's birthday) all three of my top prayer requests were answered on all three campuses.  It could have been a coincidence - but I think not.  

Our gracious and good God reminded me, again, that He is enough.  He is what our heart needs most of all.  We pine for other things, and while it is okay to have seasons of suffering with pain and cry about it, we must recognize that eventually, our hope is in Him. It's going to be alright. We will be restless until we find our rest in Christ.  He is the answer to every question.  For me, I needed to rise in the morning and meet Jesus first and foremost.  And that, has made all the difference. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Honoring A Hero

Rev. Dr. Morris
G.C. Vaagenes
I was honored to speak on September 29, 2019 at the Rev. Dr. Morris GC Vaagenes’ 90th birthday party and thank Gary Borgendale, the MC and my friend, for asking me to take part. Over 500 people were in attendance at North Heights Lutheran Church to honor a true, modern day saint whose passion for the Lord has touched thousands throughout the world. 

I love a good party.  My parents said “party” was my middle name. Probably because of my 4 year old birthday party. While my mother was occupied one afternoon with my new baby brother, I took it upon myself to invite my own guests.  I took the church directory and started phone calling all the numbers in book. My parents would have been none the wiser except for one church lady who called my mom prior to the party to ask "what she could bring."  Well, my parents were gracious and allowed my party to go on as planned, graciously opening their home to many on October 9th. It was a memorable experience.

I think we may have invited many from the church directory again today as well to celebrate our dear Pastor Morris, and my Spiritual Mentor and a modern day hero of the faith.

The speakers who came before me mentioned his "heroism." We have heard of his impact in Madagascar, as he caught the "love virus" for Madagascar.  When he returned from the mission field, he went into full-time ministry and was called to North Heights.  We heard from a couple who Pastor Morris led to the Lord and married them.  They have been at NHLC from its inception. We heard from a leader in the Lutheran Renewal - someone who thanked Pastor Morris for being a pioneer in the Holy Spirit awakening within the church! We heard from the current Principal of North Height Christian Academy and NeHi Preschool who accredited Pastor Morris with starting and keeping a high priority of Christian Education. 

Gary Borgendale asked me to speak specifically about the educational impact of Pastor Morris. He himself values education.  He speaks many different languages, has a doctorated degree, authored several books, and is a frequent speaker at both national and international events. Anyone who has spent any time with him knows he is life-long learner.  He can recite original sources and has met many leaders throughout the world.  He is the kind of person King Solomon spoke of in the book of Proverbs 13:14 "the teaching of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death." 

But not only does Pastor Morris value education for himself – he encourages education in others as well.  Just as we heard so eloquently from Principal Jeff Taylor, Pastor Morris can be attributed to inspiring educational efforts impacting so many of the next generation.  

Besides North Heights Christian Academy, under Pastor Morris’ ministry the educational entrepreneurial atmosphere blossomed along with the spirit-led guidance of Children's Ministry Director, Noreen Rickenbach. They say that you shouldn't measure your life in years but rather, your years in life. Just like the candles on Pastor Morris' cake, those who were involved in these fruitful ministry - shine brightly. Like in Kingdom Kids Wednesday night program, Confirmation Classes, Sunday School programs including Verses for Life and the Jason Wilkman Scripture Memory Program, Vacation Bible Schools, Phillip’s Neighborhood Little Earth Sunday program, His Kid’s Special Education Sunday ministry, Holy Spirit Conference Kid’s Program, Children's Christmas Programs, Celebrate Dance Ministry and who can forget – one of the original alternatives to Halloween – the All Saints' Party. These ministries all came to be, under Pastor Morris’ innovative atmosphere of Holy Spirit led ministries. 

Pastor Morris, look around at all the candles, all the life in the years, all the impact on countless children.

Of course, the ministry nearest and dearest to my heart is Hand In Hand Christian Montessori was incubated in this very place. Pastor Morris was there! In 1995, Brent and I were expecting our first child, when we visited North Heights for the first time.  We felt as if we had found “home” from the first moments we sat in the service.  When we heard the benediction from Pastor Morris who declared that all peace, power, presence, purpose, passion in the Holy Spirit was ours through Christ Jesus. And it wasn’t just the words Pastor Morris used – it was the attitude with which he spoke.  He honestly believed what he said and he gave us the faith to believe it as well.  Of all the thousands of members of the church, you spent time with us in your office and were there at Brock’s dedication service, and our other children to follow, Madeline and Meredith. 

Hand In Hand Summer Camp 1999
Pastor Vaagenes was there in his office when we walked through the doors with five staff members and 25 summer campers for our first ever Hand In Hand Parent-Child experience in 1999. That experience morphed into our Family Preschool program in 2000, and launched the unique Homeschool Academy in 2002. Along with my mother, Marlene Lee, we launched a first-of-its-kind ministry, cultivated by Pastor Morris' encouragement and fertile soil of spirit-led ministries.

He and Miss Bonnie were there in Florida when he laid hands on me and we spoke about two grandmothers starting NHLC because of their love for children. He encouraged me to continue in that same spirit. 

I must mention here our love for Miss Bonnie who, at the same party in Florida, served ice cream sundaes for all the guests - including my children.  To entertain them, she, along with Miss Lois Goalie, squirted whipping cream on the sundaes and then, directly into their mouths.  She played the game of Rook with them, laughed with them, and knew them by name.  Miss Bonnie and my father, Olaf Lawrence Lee, share a common affection for North Dakota, being raised on a farm, love for horses, and of course, along with Pastor Morris, being Norwegian. 

Pastor Morris was there when I called crying and wasn’t sure what to do and he reminded me that I didn't need an attorney because I had the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit to guide me and comfort me.

He was there at Applebees on Hwy 96 on May 17th (Norwegian Independence Day) and rejoiced with me that God provided and made a way when we couldn’t see a way. Pastor Morris reminded me that when God closes a door, He opens a window.

Pastor Morris was there at our new location the fall of 2008 and walked the perimeter of the property declaring the land holy ground and proceeded to anoint all the classroom door posts and pray over every teacher.

He has been at most of our Children’s Christmas Chapels (and when he couldn’t be there – Pastor Bob Burmeister came) where he reminded us that children, angels, and music are beautiful aspects of Christmas!
Carnegie Hall Choir Experience

He was there, side by side with his granddaughter, Sarah Vaagenes, when we all boarded a greyhound chartered bus and traveled to New York City for our choir to sing at Carnegie Hall.

He has prayed for our students at our Banquets of Blessings and attended our Galas – held right here in this place. He has faithfully served as our Chaplain on our non-profit board since its inception and still serves today.

He counselled me through many phone calls and gave wisdom and care. He has been there at our recent Investor’s Dinners as we asked God for a miracle to purchase our own property, the armory in Roseville, and a miracle happened.  He reminded us that the armory would still be an armory – only different warriors and different weapons. 

He stood by my side, along with the Mayor of Roseville, President of the Board of Hand In Hand, a young student wearing a NEXT t-shirt and my son Brock this May 2019 at our Groundbreaking Ceremony of 211 North McCarrons. He proclaimed the campus will be used for future generations to know God and make Him known.

He have been there for me – and so many just like me.  Helping us seek the Lord.  Guiding us to become all God intended. Providing for us wisdom from above.  Shepherding us well as it says in the book of 1 Peter 5:2 "Shepherd God's flock that is under your care, watching over them not because you must, but because you are willing..."

Pastor Morris and Bonnie
at his birthday party
giving all glory to God.
I said at the beginning that I love a good party.  And I know that this isn’t the only party we will be celebrating together in the future.  We look forward to the Marriage of the Lamb and the greatest party of all.  I certainly hope I get a chair close to Pastor Morris!  Happy birthday today, my Spiritual Mentor, and my friend - the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

In the Waiting - Part 2

Remember when as children, in school, we were given little cups and a tiny seed to plant in moist soil? Then our teachers gave some important instructions: "Don't touch the seed. Just wait. Don't forget to water and tend to your seed. Watch your own seed grow in its own way." 

Planting little seeds in dark soil takes faith.  And it takes time.

And in the waiting we can be tempted to do three things and ignore the warnings of the wise.

First, we mess with the seed.  We lose faith that anything is happening at all.  We poke around in the soil.  We stick our fingers in the dirt to check.  To circumvent the process. To speed things up. And by doing that the little seeds never form roots. Or it grows crooked. Or it just dies there with all the unnecessary poking and prodding. 

Second, we lose focus and we forget about the seed.  It just gets too long while tending and seeing nothing happening. So we get bored and distracted.  We get our eyes off the prize. And then we don't water the seed. We don't make sure it in the right sunlight.  Without tending, the seeds die.

Third, we start looking in everybody else's cups.  We start comparing. We take our eyes off our own cup and think everyone is better off than we are. We ask why so-and-so's seed has leaves already and why such-and-such is so big and grows so fast. And the comparison kills the joy and the seed.

Now grown up, we plant different kinds of seeds and we wait.   

We wonder - will that seed ever sprout? And when it doesn't the doubt settles in far too quickly and we question if we really heard from God at all. We ask - how long do we have to wait for the signs of life? Did God forget about us? Did the seed die in the tiny cup?

And in the waiting we mess with the seed.  We poke and prod.  We circumvent the process and try to speed it up.  We want a microwaveable  seed.  Plant it. Push a button and voila - it sprouts.  So we mess.  

Abraham messed with his seed.  Literally.  God told him he would be the father of many nations.  Abraham had a promise from God.  But then the waiting started and the delay came.  And after a long time, Abraham doubted that he had really heard from God at all and decided to take matters into his own hand.  He messed with the seed. And instead of waiting for God's promised son, he went and found a way to make his own son and circumvented the original plan.

Or we lose focus while we are waiting.  We get bored waiting day after day and looking at dirt with no signs of life.  So we start doing other things. We don't like waiting for our smart phones to load and we want Uber-fast results. We lose focus quickly.  

David lost focus.  He took his eyes off his seed.  He was suppose to be in battle and instead ended up on a balcony when he made some bad choices. David had a promise from God to be a King and Warrior.  But David got bored.  He took his eyes off the prize and got distracted.  

And we start looking in everybody else's cup.  We start comparing and wondering why someone else's is growing so fast, so tall, so well.  We start asking "why me?" We grumble. We complain. We compare.  

Esau took his eyes off his own cup and right on his twin brother's cup, Jacob.  Literally, he was holding an eternal birthright to the entire inheritance of his father's legacy and put his eyes on a cup of soup.  Something that went in him and out of him in less than a few hours.  Traded in something eternal for something temporal. All because of comparison.

Dear Heavenly Father - While we are waiting, please protect our little seeds as they are buried deep. When they are silent and sleeping and we are tempted to mess with the seed, lose focus and compare.  Please help us wait on You. And wait for our little seeds to sprout. We trust your timing.  We know you are good. And we know you are faithful. We commit our little seeds of promise to you for your glory and our good. Amen.