Psalm 40, 2015

When I was faithful in seeking you, God, you lifted me out of the slimy pit of my rebellion and sin.

Out of the mud of my bad choices.Apriil 27 Psalm 40, 2015

Out of the mire I got stuck in by trying to do things ‘my way’.

I am now solidly planted on you, my Rock.

And now I have a new song of praise to sing to you.

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

You, oh God, 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 to compare you to.

You don’t want us to just read the Bible – you want our eyes to be open and our minds to be obedient.

You don’t want us to just give our money to the church – you want us to care about the things you care about.

You don’t want us to just close our eyes to pray and start down our list of requests.  You want a relationship with us.  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.

Your words are written on my heart.

We love you, dear Father.

Caving In

Or should we call it making the ‘popular’ choice?March 30 2015 Caving In

In 1 Samuel, Saul disobeyed God by keeping some of the ‘stuff’ that they took from the Amalekites after defeating them.  When Samuel pointed this out to Saul, Saul rationalized the sin by telling Samuel that they did this so they could give the best of the sheep and cattle to God.

Samuel then tells Saul that the Lord didn’t want the burnt sacrifices as much as he wanted obedience.  As a result of Saul’s disobedience and rebellion, God was rejecting Saul as king.

Well, NOW Saul admitted that the real reason he kept the plunder was because he was afraid of how his men would react if he destroyed it all like God wanted him to do.

Saul didn’t trust God.  He didn’t believe God had his back.  He got all wrapped up in being a hotshot king that everyone looked up to and he didn’t want to put any of this hero-worship into jeopardy.

So Saul made the ‘popular’ choice rather than the obedient one.

Do we ever do that?  Are we ever more concerned about what other people think than what God thinks?  Do we fail to take the more Godly position on issues sometimes because it may not go over well with others?  What will people think?

We probably all do.  Maybe even without realizing it.

Our goal is that this happens less and less as we make obedience to God an increasingly higher priority in our hearts and minds.

God trumps popularity.

Every time.

We love you, Abba Father and we want to show you our love through our obedience.

It’s So Easy

March 17 2015 Its so EasyIt’s so easy to listen to the selfish, sinful thoughts that come into our minds.  Satan’s team is also always there – encouraging us to focus on ourselves and what we want.

We take our eyes off of God.

We wander away.

It doesn’t take any effort at all.

This is what happened to the Israelites after Joshua died.  They didn’t finish the job of completely take over the Promised land.  Despite all of their promises to God, they let the pagans continue to live in the land.

It was easier.

Some of the pagans were forced into being servants for the Israelites but they stayed…

along with all of their idols and false gods.

This began a period of decline for the Israelite nation.

Yes, the idols became snares for them.

Yes, the false gods became traps.

The Israelites disobeyed God and began to experience significant adversity in their lives as a result of their bad choices.

Just like we do when we choose to disobey….when we make decisions without consulting God and his truth….when we focus on our own desires rather than God’s.

Fortunately, we read over and over in the Old Testament that the Israelites also recognized their rebellion and repented.  They turned away from the things that were trapping them.  They turned back to God – just like we need to do when we recognize our own rebellion.  Our own sin.

Dear Father, Please guide us back to you whenever we wander.

From This Day Forward

We drive a stake into the ground.Jan 14 2015 From this day forward

This is it.

From this day forward.

Sometimes God shows us we need to make an abrupt change in our lives.  Something happens and God uses it to significantly change the direction we are headed.

Most of the time, God transforms us gradually – baby steps.  But, every once in while, we get an epiphany from God – our eyes are opened to God’s desire to make a big change in us – and we are compelled to drive a stake into the ground.

From this day forward, we will be different.  There’s no going back.

I had one of the epiphanies 6 months ago about eating right and daily obeying God’s commands in the Bible regarding food.  I am forever changed.  My eyes are opened to how God wants me to use food in my life and there is no going back.  The stake is in the ground.

We read in Genesis that Laban and Jacob made a covenant and Jacob set up a pillar to remind each of them of their promises to one another.  From this day forward, we will not harm one another.

A pillar in the ground.  From now on, our behavior is going to be different.

There is no going back.

God is transforming us as we walk this road of faith.  The Holy Spirit is convicting us of the truth in God’s word which we need to apply to our lives.  God is teaching us.  He is guiding us.

If we are listening, we should be experiencing these epiphanies and working with God has he transforms us from the inside outside.  We should be more like Christ today than we were a year ago.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve been on this road of faith for 50 days or 50 years, God is renewing our minds and remodeling our hearts.

Changing us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I Have the Right….

to do anything – but not everything is beneficial,” Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians. dec 1 2014 i have the right He goes on to tell us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  We were bought with a price and God wants us to honor him with our bodies.  These verses also mention food.

Recently, the Holy Spirit convicted me that this is true for me.  Don’t you love how you can read these verses for years and then, suddenly, the Spirit uses one of them to rock your world?

This is true for me and food.  I needed to start using food for the right purpose – to nourish me.  Not to comfort me or make me happy or to ‘treat’ myself.  That’s not the way God wants me to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit which is my body.

When God made this a matter of obedience for me, it was a game-changer.

We have the right to do a lot of things, but some of these things are not beneficial.  So God tells us avoid things that are not beneficial – even if we have the right.

This fits in with God’s direction to us that we will have to deny ourselves – what we want – when we pick our cross and follow him.

It’s not easy, but it’s the truth.  And lining up our lives with what God wants for us is always the right thing to do.

Thank you, dear Father, for the truth.

Amazing!

God moved in the heart of Cyrus, the pagan King of Persia, to set the Israelites free from captivity and exile.  King Cyrus also paid for the rebuilding of the Temple of God in Jerusalem.Sept 23 2014 Amazing

Amazing!

God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, right?!

Nothing is impossible with God!  He can make anything happen!

If God can move a pagan king’s heart to this extent, how much more can he move and grow the heart of someone who really loves him?  Someone who wants to show him how much they love him?

Someone like me?

Someone like you?

Dear Father God, We love you!  We love your Word to us!  We love this journey towards the Truth that we are all on together!  We want to know your Truth – please open our minds, Lord.  And move in our hearts so that our obedience is also amazing so that others will believe.  In the redeeming name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

 

 

He Will Deliver Us

“God will deliver us” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told King Nebuchadnezzar when they refused to worship the King’s gods or the gold image the King has set up.

They were confident that God was going to take care of them.  First, they said God will save them from what the King wants to do to them – throw them in the fiery furnace.

And then they said, “But even if he does not”, they still refused to worship anything but God.Sept 5 2014 Because we trust him

Even if he does not – because sometimes God’s deliverance of us is to take us out of this world.

We struggle with death because our perspective is so different from God’s.

When the people we love die, we feel grief and separation.  We sometimes wonder how God could let this happen.  When great Christians and missionaries die, we sometimes wonder why God ‘let’ this happen, they were accomplishing such great things for God!

God’s perspective is very different.  When those who love him die here on earth, they are alive with him in heaven – forever.  He ‘delivers’ them from the pain and brokenness of this life into a perfect life with him.  They receive the prize.  It’s not something he ‘lets’ happen, it is all done according to his will.

A year after my mother went to heaven, I got 12 blood clots that went to my lungs and 5 doctors confirmed that this should have killed me.  But it didn’t.  God told me right away in the emergency room that I wasn’t going to die from this – he had already taken care of it.

As a result of this experience, I got a very up close and personal new understanding of God’s omnipotence.  All of the scientific facts said that I should have died.  But God said ‘No’ and it didn’t happen.

God’s total and complete omnipotence gives me peace about my mother’s death, my own death when it happens and all death.  Death happens when God says and not before.  God ‘delivered’ my mother at his designated time.  And that was the right time for her.  I wouldn’t want anything other than God’s best for her.

He will ‘deliver ‘ me at the right time for me.  It’s already determined.  He has already decided and it will happen.  Until then, I need to fulfill the purpose he has given me.  It’s the reason why I’m still here.

Amen!

Hallelujah!

I Changed My Mind

King Zedekiah ordered his people to free all of their Hebrew slaves.  There were strict limitations defined in the Law of Moses which required the release of the Hebrew slaves after 7 years.

So the people let all of their Hebrews slaves go free and they went to the temple to renew their covenant with God.  They promised.

And then they changed their minds.August 14 2014 I changed my mind

They enslaved the Hebrews again causing God’s anger to burn.  As a result of their disobedience, God told them he would give them over to their enemies and that their towns would be abandoned….a wasteland.

They made a promise but then they changed their minds pretty quickly, didn’t they?  It sounds like they were barely back from the big ‘renewing our promise to God’ ceremony at the temple when they decided to break it.

Do you think it got a little difficult for them?  They lost all of their Hebrew slaves – who was going to do all of the work?

Do it themselves?

I don’t think so.

They had made a huge commitment to God without really thinking it through.  It looks like one of those ‘everybody is doing it’ scenarios which is followed by a ‘what have we done?’ reality.

Do we ever do this?  Make big promises or commitments to God only to change our mind when it gets real and it gets tough?

God promises that he will be there for us when it gets real and it gets tough.  He is our strength when we are weak.  We just need to ask.  We need to trust.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Thank you, dear Father.

I’m Not Stubborn!

I’m not stubborn!July 28 2014 stubborn

I’m not stubborn!

These words make me smile because it brings back a memory that is now precious of my daughter when she was a  small, very determined, 5 year old.  Her older brother would tease her about being stubborn and she would yell these words loudly and repeatedly – proving his point.

But she couldn’t see that.  Her mind was closed to the idea that her behavior was anything other than acceptable.

She was just a little girl with a lot to learn.  She has since grown into a beautiful, extremely intelligent, still very determined young woman who hasn’t said these words in a long time.

Just like us – we don’t say the words.  But do we have this attitude?  Can we take down the self-protective walls that we’ve built in our minds and take an honest look at our behavior?  Is there a stubborn streak there?  I know I can be stubborn.  In the past I would have said it was because I was always right but God has already shown me the error of that thinking 🙂

Jeremiah tells us in his 7th chapter that God accuses Israel of being stubborn.  He has commanded them to obey him but they do not listen.  They ‘follow the stubborn inclination of their evil hearts.’

Ouch!

Our stubbornness leads to behavior that does not please God.

Please open our eyes to our stubbornness, dear Father, so we can let you transform it into obedience.

Really?

God promises to use Gideon to save Israel and Gideon still has to test God by throwing out a fleece – not once but twice?March 19 2014

Why?  God always keeps his promises.  Did Gideon just not have enough faith to take God at his word?  He had to see God jump through some extra hoops before he would obey?

Yes, God responded BOTH times but I’ll bet he wasn’t smiling.  This an another example of just how much patience God has with us.

I believe in asking God for guidance when the next step isn’t clear.  I believe in asking him to give me the opportunity if I’m supposed to speak to someone about something God has revealed to me.

But, when he has clearly told me what he was going to do, he’s  looking for obedience, not tests.  There doesn’t need to be any fleece throwing in those situations.

The more we know about God, the easier it is to hear him.  As we grow closer we get to God,  his whispers are enough to get our attenion.  I’m so glad you’re on this journey with me because that is where we’re going – closer to the source of all Truth, closer to God.

Draw us nearer, dear Father.