Too Easy

It’s just too easy to wander away from God.

I know because I wandered away for several years when I was a young adult.    I moved away from home and gradually filled my calendar with activities I knew were not the best for me.  The people I met while doing these activities weren’t interested in a relationship with God so we never talked about him.  My whole lifestyle changed to ‘looking for love (and fun) in all the wrong places.”

It was easy.

Several years later, I woke up (with a lot of nudging from the Holy Spirit) and realized I was not where I wanted to be.  Don’t get me wrong – I had worked hard and gotten everything I thought I wanted – everything I thought would make me happy.

But I wasn’t happy.  I was empty.  I had a huge hole in my life.  I needed a meaningful purpose for getting up every morning beyond feeding the kids, paying the bills and getting my ‘to-do’ lists done.

It took me awhile to figure out that the aching hole in my life was where God was supposed to be.  I’m sure the Holy Spirit had to work very hard on me to get me to see that.  My relationship with God at this point had melted into nonexistence.

I realized I missed God.  I missed my spiritual family.

I’m extremely grateful that the Holy Spirit helped me identify my real need and desire so I could get back on track.  My relationship with God has given me all the purpose and joy and success that I was looking for.

I’ve seen many Christians wander away –

  • their Bible starts gathering dust on a shelf.
  • social activities on Saturday nights make sleeping in on Sunday mornings more important than worshiping God with their spiritual families.
  • their week becomes too busy with other things so they drop out of small group Bible studies, leaving their Christian friends behind.

I am reminded that this can happen to anyone when I read about the end of King Solomon’s life.  He was the wisest man who ever lived and yet his pagan wives influenced him to such a degree that he turned his heart away from the One True God and started worshipping idols.  Unbelievable!

God had even told Solomon when he was younger not to marry foreign wives because this would happen.

Solomon was warned and he still wandered.

I feel like God is warning me today through his Word.   I must be diligent about keeping my priorities straight.  When attitudes and activities start to draw me away from God, I need to adjust my focus.

I wandered away once.  I’m determined not to do it again.

Please keep me close to your side, Abba Father.

 

Soaking in Wisdom

Solomon gave us an enormous amount of wisdom in Proverbs but it’s in such small, short statements that I find it hard to make sure I’m absorbing it – not just reading it and moving on.  I want God’s Word to soak into my life – changing and transforming me.

One of the many things I like about the Chronological Daily Bible I read through every year is the proverbs are grouped by subject matter.  This helps me slow down and consider the overall message God is giving me.

For example, many proverbs give me wisdom concerning temperament and patience.  As I read them and think about them, I see these comparisons:

The fool – 

*gets annoyed quickly.

*shows their insecurities through their quick temper.

*jumps in on mean and evil schemes.

*stirs up conflict and commits many sins.

*wants to control other people.

*hasn’t learned their lesson so don’t rescue them.  You’ll just have to rescue them again.

The wise –

*respects and honors God, avoiding thoughts and actions that aren’t consistent with God’s Word.

*does not encourage conflict, calms a quarrel.

*has self control.

*does not make friends with hot-tempered people.

*does not associate with those who are easily angered.

Please help me be wise and patient, Abba Father.

Living Right

I’ve reading through Proverbs right now on my journey through the Bible this year.  There is such a wealth of knowledge and great direction in this book, it is impossible to actually take it all in.  I figure I’ll do it one bite at a time each year by thinking about and meditating on one of the main ideas that Solomon talks about in Proverbs.

This year God stopped me on the section in Proverbs about righteousness.

Righteousness is an old-fashioned term that doesn’t seem to relate to my world today……until I realize it’s just ‘living right’.  Doing the right things.  Making the right decisions.  Saying the right things.

How do I know what is right?  God’s Word is right.  It’s the truth.  God himself speaks to me through the Bible, explaining it and helping me apply it to my life.  The Holy Spirit convicts me when my thinking gets off and my actions don’t reflect what I believe.

I’m so glad I have the role-model of Jesus.  I don’t have to try to look around the world and find someone I want to imitate in order to ‘live right’.  I have Jesus.  This truth has often helped me move passed major disappointments with people – especially people in the church.  I used to expect people in the church to be a lot more ‘righteous’ than others until I realized that we’re all just people, struggling with our weaknesses.  As believers, God is gradually redeeming our lives but he still has a lot of work to do.

So watching people- especially people who say they are Christians – I got confused and disillusioned.  Then I looked to Jesus.  Focused on him.  And the issues about imperfect Christians went away.

Jesus gave imperfect Christians grace and love and spoke truth at the right time into their lives.  I’m so glad because I am imperfect and this is how he treats me.

Jesus did it – it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you, Abba Father.

My Greatest Treasure

My greatest treasure is not money,

or fame,

or any of my ‘stuff’.

My  greatest treasure is wisdom.  Wisdom – so I can navigate successfully through all of the valleys and hills and curves and blind curves of my life.  I’ve been memorizing wisdom scripture this last 5 years.  I have a bad memory so it is really God who is etching his Word on my heart – I just faithfully get out my memory cards every day.  I found out why God commands me to memorize his truth 4 years ago when tragedy blew my life apart.  God used the words he carved into my brain to keep my soul from crumbling into a million painful pieces when my son was killed.

James tells us in his first chapter that God gives us generous amounts of wisdom when we ask for it.  I’ve been asking, I need it and I’m not going stop.

We read in 1 King 10 that the historically famous Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon.  She had heard about King Solomon’s extreme wealth but she was not interested in that — she was crazy rich herself.  She was not interested in his palaces or any of his numerous possessions.

The Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon’s wisdom.  That’s what motivated her to take a very dangerous 1200 mile trip on camels through a desert filled with thieves and criminals.

When the Queen of Sheba asked Solomon all of her many questions, he had an answer for everything.  She was surprised.  She didn’t think any man could have that kind of wisdom.

Before she left, she talked about how happy Solomon’s people must have been to be in his presence and hear his wisdom every day.

I can’t help thinking – is anyone who hangs out with you and me happy about all the wisdom they hear from us every day?

All wisdom comes from God and he generously gives it to us when we ask.  It is our greatest treasure.

Thank you,  Abba Father.

Psalm 25, 2020

I trust you, God.

I know you will never let me down.  Everyone who trusts you experiences your faithfulness.  Those who don’t trust in you get their just rewards.

Help me know you better, dear God.  Direct my steps and guide me into a better understanding of your truth.  Teach me, Father.  All of my hope is in you, God my Savior.

You have been merciful and loving since the beginning of time.  I have confessed my sins and I know you have forgiven me.

You love overwhelms me.  You are so good, LORD.

I feel you walking beside me as I go through my day, God.  When I listen, you teach me what is right.  You are loving and faithful to those of us who have put our trust in you.

Your grace covers all of my sin and rebellion.

In response to my respect and honor for you, you help me make the right choices in my life.  You give me good things and bless my children.

I need to hear your voice, Father.  Speak to me – I need you each day.

When my eyes are fixed on you, God, you help me avoid the danger and pitfalls that come my way.  I turn to you when I am alone and sad – you take away my worries and stress.  When the trials and problems of this world press in all around me, you are always beside me – loving me and giving me strength.

You are my Rock and Refuge, Father.  Guard my life and rescue me.  I trust in you alone.

I pray that all people everywhere will experience your mercy and strength, God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 139, 2020

You know me well, LORD.

You know where I am and what I’m thinking about.  You know where I go and when I stay – you know all of my habits.   Before any words come out of my mouth, you know what I’m going to say.  You walk close beside me, with your hand guiding me.

I will never totally understand you – you are too awesome!

I know I am never alone – you are always with me.  Where ever I go – you are already there.  My life is in your hands.  You are constantly guiding me, protecting me and loving me.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I feel alone and everything seems very dark.  But you are there –

you are always there.

Darkness is not dark to you.  Your light shines through.

I know you created me, dear Father.  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you for how unbelievably wonderful you are!

You create masterpieces!  I know – because I am one of them.  You knew me before anyone else.  You saw me.  You formed me.  And you made plans for my life before I was even born.

Your plans are precious to me, God.  Please show me the path you have designed just for me.

I want to spend all my days with you, Abba Father.

(I’m enjoying using the picture of my grandson in my blogs.   God is forming him right now and we will get to meet him in July.)

Psalm 103, 2020

I praise the Lord with all that I am.  I will never forget all he has done for me – he has forgiven all of my sins and healed my brokenness.  He has redeemed me from a life filled with darkness and emptiness.

He fills up my heart with his love and compassion.  He only gives me things that are good for me and renews my strength so I can face each day.

Have I mentioned how compassionate and gracious he is?  And he is so patient with me.  I feel his love pouring down over me and overflowing onto those around me.

He doesn’t treat me like a sinner.  His love for me is bigger than the sky.  He has made my sin disappear from his eyes through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

God is a compassionate father to all of us who love him.  He knew us before we were born.

We are like flowers in the field which bloom and  then are gone – blown over by the wind and gone.

But God’s love is never-ending for those who love him.  His promises extend out to the children of the faithful.

Thank you, Abba Father

(This picture is the profile of my little grandson whom God is forming inside of my daughter right now.  God knows all about him already.  We get to meet him in July.)

Psalm 19, 2020

The heavens declare your glory, Father!

Every time I look up into the brilliant sky, I see the work of your hands.  Day after day, the skies tell us how huge and magnificent you are.  Night after night, they reveal your power and glory.

The skies don’t talk, they make no sound.  But their voices go out to the ends of the world, telling us about you.

The sun rises every morning at your command – filled with joy and anticipation as it makes its way across the sky, spreading your gift of light and warmth.

Your law is perfect and it refreshes my soul, Father.  Your word is trustworthy, it is able to make me wise.  Your directions are always right for me – they bring joy to my heart.  Your commands give light and open up my eyes.  They are more precious to me than money, fame or success.

You speak through your Word to warn me and you reward me with many blessings when I walk closely with you.

Please forgive my sins – known and unknown – and keep me from willfully straying from your path.

May these words and the attitude of my heart be pleasing to you, Lord, my Rock and My Redeemer.

I love you, Abba Father.

Psalm 40, 2020

When I became faithful in seeking you, God, you lifted me out of the slimy pit of my rebellion and sin.  You rescued me from the deep mud of my bad choices.  You pulled me out of the mire I created by trying to do things ‘my way’.

I am now solidly planted on you, my Rock.  I have a new song of  love and praise to sing to you.

I pray that many others will also decided to put their trust in you, God.

Father, you bless those who trust in you.  We are wise when we put you first in our lives and don’t follow the example of others who are only focused on themselves.

You have great things planned for us, the faithful.  You have done many awesome things – there is nothing and no one to compare you to.

You don’t want me to just read the Bible and go to church.  You want my eyes to be open to your truth.  You want my obedience.

You don’t want me to just give my money to the church – you want me to passionately care about the things you care about.

You don’t want me to just close my eyes to pray and start down my list of requests.  You want a relationship with me.  You want a conversation.  Most of all, you desire listening ears and a softened heart.

Here I am , Lord.

I desire to do your will.

Write your words upon my heart.

I love you, Abba Father.

Psalm 86, 2020

Let’s join with King David in his prayer:

Hear me, LORD, and answer me, I need you.  I am a faithful servant who trusts you – save me.

You are my God, have mercy on me as I call out to you all day long.  I trust you, God.  Please give me joy.

You are so good.  When I walk close with you, your love and forgiveness overwhelm me.  There is no other god like you.  Everything you have created joins together to worship you.  You are great and marvelous.  You alone are God.

I want to learn all about you, LORD, so I can build my life on your truth.  Give me an undivided heart which is focused on loving and honoring you.

I will praise you, God, with all my heart forever.

Each day I feel your great love for me.  Keep me safe.

I am surrounded by arrogant and confused people who don’t believe in you, God.  But I know you are a compassionate and gracious God, overflowing with love and faithfulness.

Open my eyes to what you doing, God.  Have mercy on me and save me.just like you have done for those who have gone before me.  Show me your goodness, LORD, so that others around me will see what a great God you are.

Thank you for your help and comfort, LORD.

Amen.