What’s the Truth?

It’s hard to tell.

It’s difficult to believe any ‘news’ because I’ve seen so many half-truths and false things being spread around like they are facts.

It used to be that we could trust a picture but now faces are being switched and pictures are constantly being used out of context.  We are often told that a picture was taken at a certain time but it was actually taken at an entirely different event.

Lies, deception, and trickery – our culture is filled with them.lies-and-decption

Sadly, this is not a new thing.  As we read through the Biblical account of Abraham’s family, we see a disturbing legacy of lies and treachery.

So much distrust.

So much cheating.

A lack of integrity which was passed on from generation to generation.

The consequences of their lies caused years of separation, anger and unhappiness. They could have avoided all of this if they had been truthful.

One of the bright spots in this story is – in spite of their weaknesses and sin – God still used them to fulfill his plans.  They weren’t perfect.  They made quite a few very bad decisions and God let them pay the consequences of those decisions.  But he still loved them and had a purpose for them.

Great news for you and me!

Because we’ll never be perfect.  We’ll never ‘have it all together’.  We have flaws.  We have weaknesses.

But God can and does still use us in his big plan to offer redemption to everyone.

God has a purpose for me.  And for you.  He has a plan for our lives, a reason why we’re here.  And its easier to figure out what that purpose is when we’re reading his word, praying and obeying.

Don’t forget that last step. 🙂

Thank you for the purpose you give us for our lives, Abba Father.

Before He Finished

I wonder what’s next.  What’s the next step?  Where do I go from here?

And I sometimes forget that God has a plan.  He has a map.  He knows the way.

I imagine a field stretched out in front of me that represents my life.  In that field, there are many landmines.  The land mines represent bad choices and wrong in my life.field-of-landmines

What if I knew someone who could guide me through my field so I could avoid these landmines?  Would I ask for their help and listen to them?

Definitely.

There is someone like that and he is God.

He knows where all of the landmines are and he wants to show me the way around them.  He doesn’t just want to guide me, he wants to walk through my field – the rest of my life – right next to me, giving me hope and love and joy.

In order to do that, I need to ask, listen, obey and trust.

In order to do that, you need to ask, listen, obey and trust.

God tells us in Genesis 24:15 that he answered the servant of Abraham’s prayer before he finished praying.

Before he finished.

I bet God does this all the time and we just don’t know it.  But has he ever done this for you and you knew it?

Last April, I was praying about whether or not to retire soon.  My company was reorganizing and I had a small window of time to take advantage of a ‘special offer’ and retire early.

Big decision.

I wasn’t sure.

I needed guidance from God.

On the last day before I had to decide, I was praying saying, “I need an answer” and, as I said Amen, the phone rang.

I knew it was my answer.  That conversation confirmed the direction I was leaning – to retire early.

And now I can clearly see God’s hand guiding me around a couple of landmines and onto the next step for his plan for me.

I wish it were always that clear.

I think it can be if we ask and listen, obey and trust.

What do you think?

Thank you for your guidance, Abba Father.

Two People = One

Dating is fun.

Being engaged is exciting.

Weddings are a great big party that celebrates love and committment.

Marriage is tough.

Good…….but tough.

Worth it…..but not easy.

I’ve been married to the same man for almost 36 years.

So I know.  And he knows. 🙂elderly_marriage_white_26161_l

In order to stay married, we have had to work through it all.  And stuff just keeps coming at us.

Every year, as I begin reading through the Bible again, I pause when I read Genesis 3:20, “Adam named his wife Eve.”

This was after they had lived in the Garden of Eden with God for who knows how long.  This was after they had eaten the apple and sinned.

Up to this point, they were both called Adam.  They both completed the person of Adam.

How much would our perspective of marriage change if we sincerely considered ourselves – man and wife – to be one person?  It wouldn’t be, “why does he always do that” or “she drives me crazy when she does that”.

It would be more like “my leg always likes to cramp up” or “my neck is stiff and its driving me crazy”.  There’s no ‘out’ option unless you want to cut off your leg or chop off your head.

When our leg cramps up, we rub it and stretch it.  When our neck is stiff, we massage it and warm it up.  When a physical part of us is having a problem, we work with the issue, figure out how to help it and get help if we need it.

man+woman =one.

VERY different than the ‘throw away’ attitude our culture has of marriage today, isn’t it?

Sometimes married people joke about their ‘better half’.  What if we really believed that?  How would our marriages be different if we acted like we believed that?

Please help us honor you with our marriages, Abba Father.

My Eyes

It’s amazing!

How do my eyes work?how-or-better-who

I don’t know.  I know there’s a retina and fluid and a lens and a lid and….more parts.

But how can I see through them?

How intricate is this whole process that enables me to see light, dark, colors and shapes?

This is total mind-boggling for me.  I know there’s a scientific reason.  But who created the science behind it?

I don’t have to look any farther than my eyes to believe in a Creator God.

I don’t understand everything about God.  How could I?  I only have a 3.5 pound brain.  My brain is like a grain of sand compared with God’s spaceship of genius.  And that doesn’t even come close to describing God’s intelligence……its just the thing I can think of with the most lights, buttons and bells 🙂

I can only understand God at a very basic level and, after that, I just have to trust him.  I have to trust in him even though I can’t explain him.

I have to have faith.

I am grateful that God is beyond my understanding.  I am grateful that he is all-knowing and all-powerful even though I can’t sufficiently fathom what either of those two words describe.  I am grateful that he is eternal.  I can’t imagine what that means, either, but I know that it’s true of him.

Because he has told me in his Word.

And I trust him.

I am trusting him with my life….

and I am trusting him with my death.

Thank you, Abba Father.

In the Beginning…..

A new page is turned.

New possibilities have opened up.

What’s going to happen?

I don’t know.

For some reason, many of us say that we don’t like change.  But then we generally like new beginnings.  When we make choices that cause our lives to change and we can call it a ‘new beginning’, we’re ok with it?  But we don’t like change?

Yes, we are strange and wonderful creatures.

And I am one of the strange and wonderful creatures who likes change.

Change is good.

I was taught to like change through my over 34 years of working for corporate Jack in the Box.  We were constantly moving and adjusting and changing.  If I didn’t like a change, I didn’t have to wait too long  for it to change again.  As long as my strategic brain could see us improving – hitting goals and moving forward – I liked it.

This has really helped me enjoy our electronic age where things change so quickly and so often.  I’m typing this on my new ‘retirement’ laptop with a touch screen and the whole computer can turn into a pad.  I haven’t figured out much about this computer beyond doing what I’m doing right now.  But I will!

One of the things I love about God is – he doesn’t change.

In the beginning, God.in-the-beginning-genesis

He was here before the beginning and he will be here after the end.

He has promised – it’s a fact.

In our crazy world of unknowns, God wants to be known by you and by me. He gives us his Word.  He gives us his Spirit.  He gives us a spiritual family.

He wants us to know him and he guides us towards himself as we read, listen and obey.

I am extremely interested in discovering the new possibilities God is going to bring my way in 2017.  As I start reading through the Bible again for the 6th year in a row, I am confident that God has new things to teach me and he also wants to remind me of other truths that I know but I’ve forgotten.

I’m so glad you are taking journey with me.  I would love to hear more of your thoughts and experiences as we take this trip through God’s word in 2017 together.

Thank you for new beginnings, Abba Father.

Faith Is….

confidence in what I do not see.

I don’t see God, but I feel his love.  I see him moving in my life…

arranging the pieces…..orchestrating his plan.

I hear his voice…

through his written word and when he speaks into my mind.  Sometimes he speaks through others.

I experience his strength while I’m struggling with the issues and questions of today.

Every morning, as I witness the sun rising in the sky, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me.sunrise

Right now, he is holding the world together….for me.  The gravity he created is keeping my feet on the ground.

He is providing my next breath.

I rest in your love, Abba Father.

 

Growing Through It

Trials in my life have brought me pain…

and much heartbreak…

and an ocean of tears.

But they have also helped me grow in my faith.  As I have persevered through my current darkness toward the light, God has kept his promise by constantly being right by my side.

After asking God for wisdom for this journey, I find that he has given me insight and knowledge when I need it to make decisions and take next steps.  I have no doubt that God hears all of my prayers and is in the process of answering them in a way that is best for me and my family.

But it is extremely hard to consider this all joy as James tells us to do in his first chapter.

Maybe in years to come I will consider some of this trial as joy.

a-sparkDon’t get me wrong – there are small sparks of joy now.

Sparks of  ‘this is why’.

Sparks of ‘God is moving mountains’.

And my trust – our trust – is growing as we have had to hold onto God with both hands as we figure out how to move forward.  There is some joy in that.

I trust that he has the best planned for me and my family.   Trusting brings hope and peace and strength.

Please help us to continue to grow, Abba Father.

Fan the Flame

Our passions….

burning inside of us.

The things we really care about.

When we are believers, God give us a passion for him and for his kingdom.  It’s our job to grow it and let God transform us so that we gradually become more like Jesus.

Paul tells Timothy – and us – in 2 Timothy that the Spirit God places inside of us gives us power.

God’s Spirit gives us love.

He gives us self-discipline.

We are meant to love God and follow him with power and self-discipline for the rest of our lives.

Paul tells Timothy – and us – to fan the flame of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which God has deposited within each believer.fan-the-flame

How are you fanning the flame?  What do your spiritual habits look like?

Maybe you regularly go to a Bible-believing and teaching church.  Great!  Do you participate?  Or just watch?  Do you go all of the time or once a month?

Fan the flame.

Maybe you read your Bible.  Great!  Do you read it daily or once in awhile?  Are you letting God transform you through his Word?  Are you listening and obeying?  Are you closer to God than you were a month a go?

Fan the flame.

Maybe you’re a part of a Small Group Bible Study.  Awesome!  Do you participate every week?  Do you meditate on the things you study, pray over them and let God change you?  Are you more like Jesus now than you were 6 months ago?

Fan the flame.

Just doing these activities is not the goal.  The goal is to let God into our hearts and minds so that he can change us from the inside out.  We fan the flame through our spiritual habits.

And God transforms us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

How Wide….

how long

and high

and deep

is the love of Christ?how-wide-and-long-2

Paul  prayed to God, asking that the Ephesians – and us – would know this love.

And be filled with this love.

So we can be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us.

For this reason, Paul knelt down before his Heavenly Father to pray.

As we kneel before him now –

Dear Father, we thank you for how wide and long and high and deep Christ’s love is for us. 

We know it.

We feel it.

As we quickly rush into the Christmas holiday, please help us remember what we’re celebrating – Jesus’ birth.  And also help us remember his death and resurrection.  His sacrifice on the cross for us is why we can talk with you right now.

Thank you for the gift of your son, Abba Father.  It is in his name we pray to you today.  Amen.

Peace On Earth

Peace.

Where do we find it in our world of busyness and problems and violence.

Where is it?peace-on-earth

How do we get it?

Is it even possible anymore?

Are we creating a culture where there is no peace?

I think some of us have adopted life styles that don’t include peace.

Because Jesus is our peace.

Knowing him, following him, loving him brings us peace.

Paul tells us in Ephesians that we who were once far away have been brought near to God by Jesus’ sacrifice.  As believers,  we have all been given free access to God.

We have an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Creator of the Universe.

Through Jesus, we can find peace within us.

Because God’s Spirit lives within us.

Thank you, Abba Father.