What Does He Want?

Have you heard anyone say something like, ” I just can’t figure  out what God wants from me?” or ” I really don’t know what God wants me to do?”

Statements like these confuse me because I think God is amazingly clear and to the point about the ‘main things’ that need to be a focus in my life.

The first and second commandments are love God with my whole heart and love others.  Jesus tells us that obeying these 2 commandments fulfills ‘all the law and the prophets’.  That includes the original 10 commandments from the Old Testament.

Used to be 10 commandments – now it’s 2.  God knows we need simple and clear directions.

As I read the 6th chapter of Micah, I am again amazed at how direct God is as he tells me what he expects from me. ” And what does the LORD require from you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Which part of that is unclear?

Act justly – do the right things and God tells us what is right in his Word.

Love Mercy – forgive others.  Give people a break especially when they don’t deserve it.  Help others.

Walk Humbly with God – develop a close relationship with God understanding that he is a supernatural combination of Creator of the Universe, the Holy and Perfect One and my Abba Father.

Micah told us this thousands of years ago.  It’s time to stop asking God what he wants us to do and start doing it.

Thank you for how clearly you guide me through your Word, Abba Father.

It’s Bad

I’m surprised when I find myself doing it – rationalizing.  I start to make excuses for making not great choices.

I find myself thinking it’s ‘not really bad’.

Do you do this, too?

Do you tell yourself “everyone’s doing it” or “no one will ever know” when you think about doing something that’s not right?

God’s words through Isaiah are very clear about our tendency to rationalize away bad decisions.  “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter”.

Woe to me when I call evil good…..or call evil okay.  These words echo through my head as I recommit to stop rationalizing things.

I need to be discerning – don’t accept evil as good, don’t call shades of darkness light.

I need to be wise.  This doesn’t mean I go around judging other people.  God is their judge.  I’m focusing on my behavior and my values and my choices.  I’m focusing on calling good good and calling evil evil in my life.

And stop the excuses, stop the rationalizing.

Please open my eyes, Abba Father.

 

Jonah’s Prayer, 2020

When it all hit the fan, I decided to call out to you, God….

and you answered me.

My choices took me to a deep, dark place in my life,  far from you.  But you still heard me when I prayed.

I tried to run from you – a very bad decision.  And now you’re letting me pay the consequences as waves of darkness and regret wash over me.  I feel like you are very far away, dear God.

Even so, I am going to look for you, watch for you, call out to you.

I keep sinking….

down,

into the cold,

deep,

sadness.   This is where my choices have taken me.

But I know you are here, Lord God.  And you will lift me back up into your arms.

When I was lost, I remembered you and I turned back to you, God.  I’m not like those other people who idolize money, success or fame.  I praise you with a joyful heart, my God!

I am here to do your will.  I will do what you have asked me to do.

I’m listening, Abba Father.

He is Doing It

You call them coincidences.  Situations come together and there’s an unexpected check or a conflict resolves itself without you doing anything or you get an awesome yet much needed surprise at just the right time.  How great!  Wow!  What a coincidence!

But it’s not a coincidence.  It’s a God-incidence.  It didn’t just happen – God made it happen.  Every day God goes ahead of me, working things out for my good.  When I get to tomorrow, he has already been there, taking care of the details and organizing blessings for me.

So I relate to Jehoshaphat’s story in 2 Chronicles.  The people of Judah were being attacked by a huge combined army made up of several of their enemies.  King Jehoshaphat told his people to “have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld.”  Then he appointed a group of men to go in front of his army singing praises to the LORD.

This creates a vivid picture in my mind of this army of tough, armor-clad soldiers carrying their swords and shields while men lifting praises to God marched in front of them, leading the way.

While the army of Judah was marching toward battle, God set ambushes against the enemy army.  The individual armies within that enormous army started fighting amongst themselves and totally destroyed each other.

When the army of Judah got to the top of the hill that overlooked the desert where they were going to fight, all they saw were dead bodies.  The battle was over and they were victorious!

A God-incident.  He took care of it before they ever got there.

God often does this in my life.  When I’m aware, I see God-incidences happening all through my life.  I have learned that, when I am unsure of my next step in a situation, I need to pray to God.  I trust that he’s going ahead of me – either taking care of the situation or creating an opportunity for me to say or do what I’m thinking about.  So I pray….and watch…and wait…. until he moves.  It’s amazing!  He either works it all out for my good without me doing anything or he opens up a door for me to do or say what he’s prompting me to say.   Sometimes it takes a while for it all to come together but timing is everything.

God-incidences are always the perfect thing at the perfect time.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

How Many Jars?

How big is my God?  How much does he want to bless me?

God stopped me today as I read the story of the widow whose son was going be taken as a slave because her husband had debts he didn’t pay before he died.  She asked Elisha for help saying she had nothing left except a small jar of  olive oil.

Elisha replied, ” Go around and ask your neighbors for empty jars.  Don’t ask for just a few.  Then go inside…and pour oil into all the jars…”  She did exactly what Elisha said and she just kept filling the jars until they were all full. The oil stopped flowing when her last jar was full.  Then she sold the oil to pay her debts and had enough money left over to live on.

Now that I know the end of the story, my automatic response is – too bad she didn’t get more jars!

Did you go there?

And then I wonder how many times God was willing to bless me abundantly but I didn’t bring enough jars?  I didn’t bring enough faith?  Enough trust?

How often do I short-cut God’s attempts to lavish love and care on my life because I don’t ask?

The message I’ve been consistently receiving lately from God is that there are some mountains he will move if I will boldly ask.  He’s stirring up a wind of his Spirit that he is inviting me to take part in if I will ‘bring enough jars’.

Nothing is impossible for my Father God so I will acknowledge that by boldly asking and watching expectantly for his answer.

I’m getting a lot of jars lined up, Abba Father.

Violence

It’s all around us.  Unspeakable violence and pain and loss.  People are doing horrible things to their neighbors.  They are putting themselves in danger and getting hurt.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new.  As I read the historical account in 1 Kings of Elijah facing off against 450 prophets of Baal, I am stopped by the picture this passage forms in my mind.  The prophets of Baal had just put a bull up on their altar and they are calling on Baal to come burn up their sacrifice.  Nothing happens. (of course)  So they began to shout louder and ‘slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.’

The frantic violence I’m seeing in my mind looks a lot like the videos of looting and rioting that I see going on in our world right now.  And Satan is smiling.  His plans to divide and hurt as many people as possible are working.

Violence never fixes anything.  The gruesome self-mutilation of the priests of Baal sure didn’t do anything.

But wait!  I love this next part-

Elijah prepared a bull on the altar of stones and wood that he made as a sacrifice to the One True God.  To show the power of God, he poured 12 large jars of water on top of the altar.  The altar was totally soaked with water running down all over it and filling the trench around it.  Then Elijah prayed to God, asking him to show himself  ‘so these people will know that you, LORD, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

As soon as Elijah finished praying, the fire of God came down from heaven and burned up the bull, the wood, the stones , the soil around it and all of the water.

“When the people saw this, they fell prostate and cried, ‘The LORD – he is God!”

Dear Father, we need you to send your power down to earth today.  We need this hate and division all around us to be burned up.  We need a purifying rain of your love and grace and peace to fall on each one of us today.  Let everyone see that you are the One True God.  Heal our country, Father.  Take the smile off of Satan’s face, God.  Turn all the angry, frustrated, violent hearts back to you, God.  You are the answer.  Thank you, Abba Father.  In the powerful name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Isaiah 9, 2019

Dear Father,

I ask that the people who walk in darkness today would see your great light.  Shine your light of love and grace on all those who are now living in the land of deep darkness.

Enlarge your kingdom on earth, Father.  We rejoice before you for you have broken the yoke of our slavery to sin.  You have lifted the heavy burden of guilt and shame from our shoulders through the death and resurrection of your son.  You have removed the oppression brought into our lives by our disobedience and rebellion.

For a Child was born to us, you gave us your son, Jesus.

We call him Wonderful,

Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

Those of us who have accepted your ‘saving grace’ have placed Jesus on the throne of our lives where he rules with justice and peace for all eternity.

You have made all of this happen.

Thank you, Father.

Wasted Time

I only have so much time here on this planet – I shouldn’t waste it.  If there is one lesson that has been engraved on my mind these last few years, it’s ‘Life is short”.

I truly never knew how extremely short life can be until my son was killed.  One moment he was here and the next he was gone.

My life flipped upside down in that one moment.

Life is short – I have no time to waste.

Just like Jonah – he had no time to waste.  So it’s a little frustrating to read about Jonah going through his big drama of disobeying God’s direction to go to Ninevah.  Jonah decided to go the other direction, got caught on a ship in a big storm, was thrown overboard by sailors and spent 3 days in a huge fish at the bottom of the ocean.  It was there that he repented and reached out to God. (bottom of the ocean, end of our rope – sound familiar?)

God ordered the fish to spit Jonah out on the beach.  And then Jonah finally decided to obey God by going to Ninevah and doing what God has asked him to do in the first place.

That whole first whale trip was just a big waste of time and energy!

Wait a minute – do I do this?

Do you do this?

I have to admit that I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past disobeying God.  I ignored what I knew was right.  I did want I wanted to do and gained nothing from it.  It was useless – a waste of time.

One of my life goals now is to obey God the first time.  I want to stop wasting time and energy while disobeying.

I want to avoid getting hit by the 2×4 that eventually comes our way when we ignore God.  The issue or problem doesn’t go away when we disobey – it grows.  And it continues to grow until it’s too big and bad to ignore any longer.

Have you ever been hit by God’s 2×4 for your disobedience?

I have.  It’s a wake up call.  An enormous red flag pops up and starts whipping through my life.  It seems like everything starts going wrong at the same time but, in reality, this issue has been gradually building steam while I prioritized other things.  Because he is a good Father, God doesn’t ignore me when I’m trying to ignore him.  He lets the consequences of my own actions grow until it’s just like getting hit by a 2×4.  By then, the issue has become too enormous and too awful – I cannot continue to look the other way.  Newsflash from God – attitudes and behaviors and priorities need to change – and they need to change NOW!

I got it, God!  I have learned my lesson and I intend to obey right away from now on.  No more 2×4’s in my life if I can help it!

I have also learned that obedience up front, the first time, brings additional blessings of peace and strength that come from being in line with God and in step with the Spirit.

Obeying right away is never a waste of time.

Thank you for teaching me this important lesson, Abba Father.

Be Still and Watch

It’s hard for me to be still and watch.  I’m a doer.  I’m an achiever.  I spent over 34 years of my career “making things happen”.

So I like to skim over all the situations in the Bible where God tells us to “be still and watch”.  And God says this often.  You probably don’t notice how often he says this unless you’re trying to ignore him when he says this – like me.

In 2 Chronicles, King Jehoshaphat tells his people not to be discouraged by the huge, combined army that is marching toward them. “You will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory.”

After saying this, the king and all the people bowed before God with their faces to the ground and they worshipped God.

This creates a great visual picture in my brain because they were acting like they had already won!

Because they had.

Early the next morning, they marched out to their positions singing praises to God.  They were not afraid – God was going to fight for them.

And he did.  The huge enemy army became confused and started fighting each other – killing everybody in their own army.

God’s people won without raising any weapon except their trust in God.  It took them three days to gather up all of the supplies and valuables left behind by the dead army.

Wow!  God is saying to me and you today that there are battles coming at us which he wants to fight for us.  We just need to trust and be still and watch.

I have something in my life that I’ve been ‘battling with’ and God just reminded me yesterday that I need to give it to him. (I actually should have given it to him a while ago).  Today he is confirming that through his Word to me.

I’ve been trying to make it happen but it just hasn’t.  Frustrating!  So now I’m going to be still and watch.  I know I don’t really want it to happen unless God also wants it to happen anyway, so I like this plan.  Everytime I think about it, I’m going to send it up to God in a prayer, “Do your will, Father.”

I trust that he wants the best for me so I will be still and watch.

Thank you for reminding me and confirming this for me, Abba Father.

His Whispers

If I’m not careful, I’ll miss it.

I’ve missed it before.

God speaking to me.

Just like with Elijah in 1 Kings, God doesn’t speak to me in a terrible blast of flying rocks or in an earthquake or in a fire.

God often speaks to me in a whisper – a faint breeze of truth and light that flits through my mind.  I have to stop, concentrate and reach out to catch it.

If I’m not careful, it’s gone.

If I’m not purposefully opening up my spiritual eyes and mind, the spark moves on.  And I’m left wandering, ‘When God is going to answer my prayer?   When will I see him move?’

When I am quiet,

when I am focused,

when I don’t let distractions derail my time with God, I hear him loud and clear.

God’s Word is alive – he will underline passages (you wouldn’t see it but I do), he will change the font of a sentence to bold or he will read the words to me in my head to make sure it’s his voice I hear, not my own or anyone else’s.

There are situations where he simply opens up my eyes to how he has already answered my prayer.  He has taken care of the issue and moved on.  Keep up!

That’s when I realize how much I miss when I’m not quiet,

when I’m not ‘zoned in” enough to hear the whispers and feel his breeze of truth ruffling the pages of my Bible.

Please open my eyes, open my ears, Abba Father.