No Revenge

No payback.

As a believer, I know I can totally turn over to God any need I feel for revenge or payback to people who have done things that hurt me.  He is the perfect judge, I am not.

God tells us in Psalms 10 that he knows all about wicked people.  He sees them and he assures us that justice will be served.

Meanwhile, God never forgets the helpless..

the victims…

the afflicted….

the fatherless….

the oppressed.

Those that hurt others and do wrong cannot hide from God.  He sees it all and calls “the evildoer to account for their wickedness that would not otherwise be found out.”

No need to worry – they don’t get away with it.

We don’t have to take revenge for ourselves.  Jesus clearly told us in the New Testament that we should not pay back evil with evil.  We need to love our enemies.

God’s got this.  We may never know how it happens, but God promises they will get what they have earned.

It’s all taken care of.

Thank you, Abba Father.

It’s All Yours!

I love the picture I get in my mind when I read 1 Chronicles 29.  King David is standing in the middle of more than 300 tons of gold and 638 tons of silver along with 675 tons of bronze with his arms stretched out, praising God saying “It’s all yours”.  I think about this passage whenever I find myself focusing on my money and my stuff.

Do you see that ‘my’ word crop up?  The truth is – it’s not mine.  Everything I have has been given to me by my Father God.  He owns everything.  I am just taking care of what he has given me while I’m here on earth.  And I give some back to him because I’m grateful for all that he has given me.

So I join with King David in praise of my Father today –

It’s all yours, dear Father.  Yours is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty.  Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours.

Wealth and honor come from you alone for you rule over everything.

Power and might are in your hand and you decide who is made great and given strength.

Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone soon without a trace.  But you, dear God, give us significance.  You call us your sons and daughters and you delight in us.

We love you, Abba Father!

Beautiful Hair

David’s son, Absolom, had beautiful hair.  We read in 2 Samuel that it was heavy and long and gorgeous.  He cut it once a year, then weighed it so everyone would know how thick and awesome it was.

I wonder how often Absolom stopped to look in the mirror to admire his hair?  (Did they have mirrors back then?  Maybe shiny pieces of metal that reflected back their image?  Or maybe the guys looked into their swords?)

If he made this big deal about his yearly hair cutting, I would image that he was extremely proud of his hair, don’t you?  I’m sure it was a constant source of compliments for him.

And then we read in 2 Samuel 18 that Absolom was riding his donkey under a tree in the midst of battle when his hair got caught in the tree.  He was pulled from his donkey and was left hanging in midair by his hair while his donkey just kept on going.  While Absolom was dangling there, unable to defend himself, Joab plunged his sword into his heart and killed him.

Only really thick hair would be able to do that, right?  If Absolom had thin hair or even regular hair, this wouldn’t have happened to him.

The thing he was so very proud of became a snare that caused his death.

So the question to you and I today is – what is the thing in our lives that we are most proud of?  Do we need an attitude adjustment before we find ourselves in a snare?

Are we already caught in a snare?

Dear Father, we are so blessed to have you in our lives lavishing us with your mercy and your love.  We confess our pridefulness.  Please help us be most proud of you and what you have done for us.

Psalm 3, 2020

LORD, there are so many issues, problems and stresses rising up against me!  Others are watching saying, “Where is her God now?”

But you, LORD, shield me from the hopelessness of the unbelievers who do not trust you. When I cry out to you, you lift my head up high and answer me.

As I open my eyes each morning, I recognize that my life comes from you.  I do not fear all the known and unknown dangers that surround me.

Save me, Father, from the worry and anxiety which try to overwhelm me.

You are our deliverer!  Bless us, your children.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Powerful

There are two forces at work on this earth – good and evil.

Every story, every book and every movie has the underlying theme of good versus evil.

God is the force of good on this earth.

Satan is the force for evil.  Yes, Satan is very real.  Unfortunately, he is very good at influencing us and others to do things that are wrong, mean and evil.

Spoiler alert – Satan’s power is limited  He wins some battles here on earth but he has already lost the war.

God’s power is limitless, eternal and he has already won the final war.

Satan uses his power on earth well – confusing us, distracting us, helping us rationalize the bad things we do and even making wrong things look like right things.  He is the Father of Lies.  He’s sneaky – he gets people who have given into his lies to tell others that ‘it’s all okay.  I’m doing this, you should, too.”

Satan has power in this world and we should not take that power lightly.  This is why God told King Saul to get rid of all the mediums and witches among his people.  Mediums and witches and all of those types of people have power –

but it’s not from God.  There is no such thing as a good witch.

Satan is the source of their power.  They willingly open their minds to Satan and he gladly uses them for his purposes.

The story of Saul going to the witch in the book of Samuel in the Bible makes me sad.  Saul knew better.  Unfortunately, he did not have a strong enough character to keep his behavior in line with what he knew to be true.

Saul asked the witch to ‘bring up’ Samuel after Samuel had died.  First she protested but then she did it, ‘crying at the top of her voice’ when Samuel actually appeared.  She was so surprised when Samuel showed up because she probably knew where her powers came from and she never expected a man of God to respond to her summons.

God obviously took this opportunity to override Satan’s powers with his own to give Saul a chance to talk with Samuel one more time.

But Samuel was mad that Saul had called out to him. (who would want to leave heaven?)  Samuel reminded Saul that God was fulfilling Samuel’s earlier prophecies about the end of Saul’s reign as king.  It was all happening.

Not long after this episode, Saul was killed.  This is such a pitiful end to the first King of Israel’s reign.  He had reached out to a servant of Satan in order to get what he wanted.

Yes – witches, warlocks, mediums, seances and even Ouji boards can be used by Satan as his hands and feet here on earth.

That’s why God has made it very clear to us to avoid getting close to any of it.

Please help us keep focused on you, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2020

(My version – a great psalm for our pandemic situation)

Have mercy on me, God.

Keep me safe.

Every day I come to you and you give me strength and peace.  Please wrap your loving arms around me and hold me close until this pandemic has passed.

I count on you each day, Father, to save me from the growing danger pressing in on me.  You are always loving and faithful.

I am surrounded by invisible, deadly germs.  They are everywhere……waiting.

I praise you, Father, for being in control of everything in heaven and on earth.  Please help all of us to understand how awesome you are – we need it now, more than ever!

This virus is spreading a net over the earth, trying to catch us.  Trying to make us sick.

My heart continues to beat for you, Father.  I will sing your praise for the rest of my life.  As the sun rises this morning, I am reminded once again of your faithfulness.

I will tell everyone about your power and mercy, God!  For great is your love, reaching around the world and beyond.  You always keep your promises.

I praise you, Father, for being in control of everything in heaven and on earth.  Please help all of us to understand how awesome you are – we need it now, more than ever!

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

No Hiding

No faking it.

You and I see the outside of people – what they look like, what they wear, where they live and how they act.

God has an entirely different perspective of us – he looks on the inside.  He knows my intentions, my motivations and desires.  He knows what I’m thinking – I don’t have to say anything.

When Samuel was picking who would be king after Saul, God said to him, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  Knowing this is true challenges me as well as gives me confidence.  I’m glad God sees below my surface – he understands my true feelings.  He knows me better than any human being ever could.

But the fact that God knows my thoughts also challenges me.  Like many of us who have been on this road of faith for a long time, I have gotten better at not saying things I shouldn’t say.  But have I trained my mind to not think them?  Have I let God renew my mind so it doesn’t go where it shouldn’t go?  The honest answer is – sometimes.  There are areas of my life where it is difficult to control my thinking.  There are other situations where I find it pretty easy to leave it all with God.

With the Coronavirus, for example, I am not having a difficult time of ‘letting go and letting God’.   I am so obviously NOT in control of this pandemic that I am finding that I can easily turn any concerns or fears I have about this craziness over to God.  Meanwhile, I’ll do my part, confident that God is in control of everything.

My husband and I have been in the process of selling a home, moving to another state and buying a home this last month in the middle of the pandemic.  For some reason, God decided this was the right time for us to do all this.  Experience tells me that I’ll probably understand this much better in a couple years when I look in the rearview mirror.

For right now, it’s comforting to know that when God looks at my heart today, he can see that I’m trusting him with all of it.  I know that he loves me with a perfect love and is working it all out for my good.

God has promised and he always keeps his promises.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I Know That Voice

Little Samuel’s story in the Bible is one my favorites.

He heard a voice calling to him in the night and he thought is was the Prophet Eli since he was living with Eli.  So Samuel ran to Eli saying, “Here I am”.

Eli said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.”

This happened again and then on the third time, Eli realized that it was God who was calling the boy.  This time Eli told Samuel, when he heard the voice, to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

When God spoke again, Samuel told him he was listening and God went on to tell Samuel what was soon going to happen.

I’ve got a challenge for you.  The next time you think you might be hearing something from God, say those same words, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”  And then listen.  Listen to what is going through your brain.  Think about what you have been reading in God’s Word and how it applies to your life.  Think about coincidences that have been happening in your life and how they relate to what you’ve been reading.  Remember things that Godly people in your life have said to you recently.

I believe God is regularly trying to break through the cacophony of our culture – especially the electronic bubble where we spend a lot of our time.  He wants to talk to you and me – guiding us, encouraging us, and teaching us.

Have you had the experience where you are reading God’s Word and then a sentence sticks out of the page?  You reread a phrase a couple of times?  You start to wonder what that means?  Has that phrase always been there?  I don’t remember ever reading that or even hearing anyone talk about that before?  That is God stopping us.  That is God drawing our attention to something specific in his Word so he can speak to us.

That’s what God did today with me.  He stopped me as I was reading to remind me how much I  like young Samuel’s story.  Because I know God, I know he is encouraging me to continue to learn how to hear him more and more clearly as I read his Truth.  My knowledge of God is growing and the more I know him, the better I hear him.

How can I be confident that it’s God that’s talking to me and not just my own thinking?  What God says to me will always be consistent with what he says in the Bible.  He will not contradict himself.

I am also 100% sure it’s God talking when he says something I’ve never thought of before and it’s good, consistent with what I have read in the Bible.  God confirms his guidance to me through my circumstances as well.  When it’s God talking to me, things happening around me will line up with what God is saying.  Sometimes it will be something my husband, my pastor or a friend says.  As I pray about what God is telling me, God will often open up my eyes to how he is moving around me and I’ll be able to connect the dots.

When I take time to consider all of these things, God’s directions to me become really clear.

When I work at staying aware of the fact that God is trying to talk to me, it’s not hard to hear him.

Thank you for your guidance, Abba Father

 

My Story

It’s a story of redemption.  I can see God orchestrating his love and grace in every step.

It’s clear to me that the story of Ruth is the story of everyone who has put their faith in Jesus.  Without him in our lives,  you and I would both exist in a famine, without purpose, without hope, stuck in our guilt and shame.

But in Jesus we have found our kinsmen redeemer!  Hallelujah!

Jesus paid the price of our sins for us so we could become a part of his forever family.  Now we live under God’s umbrella of grace and blessing.

“Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsmen redeemer.”

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

 

He Always Responds

The next step I’m suppose to take is often not clear.  There are a lot of blind curves on this road I’m on – I can’t see what lies ahead.  I’m usually pretty sure about the final goal but the specific actions God wants me to take to get there are smothered in a fog of options, questions, and unknowns.

When I’m in one of these ‘unclear’ spots on my road, I ask for a confirmation from God that I’m on the right path – or not.  And he always either gives me a confirmation or opens up my eyes to a change in direction.

So I know how Gideon is feeling in Judges when he is putting out fleeces, asking God to confirm that he is doing the right thing.

For me, I have decided not to ask God to do a specific ‘sign’ for me.  It feels too much like asking God to do a trick.

I’ve developed my own process of asking God to give me clear guidance sometime today and I will be watching.  When I do this, I try to stay extra aware of anything that could be encouragement from God telling me to “keep going’ or something that opens up my eyes, helping me understand a different direction I should be taking.  I believe my process works because it acknowledges that I know God is always trying to guide me and show me the way.  Asking for a response today also helps me maintain a special awareness of God moving in my life in the next 24 hours.

And he always responds.

And then I smile.   Of course he does.

Thank you for your faithfulness, Abba Father.