What’s New?

Growing….

changing…

I am not going to be done learning until my heart stops beating.  There’s a time to stop being flexible and stop being open to new things and that time is when I’m dead.  I have learned a lot in these last 50-some years 🙂 and I have a lot to learn in these next 30 years or whenever my eyes shut for the last time on this earth.

I am challenged to be quicker on the learning end than Gideon was as I read his story in Judges.  The Lord told Gideon directly that he was going to bring him victory.  But Gideon didn’t get it – Gideon replied that he was the least of his family.  So what?  God was going to do this, not Gideon.

Gideon prepared an offering to God and the Angel of God came down to burn it for him.  Are you getting this yet, Gideon?

Then God told Gideon to cut down the pole in town that was dedicated to the pagan gods and build an altar with the wood.  Gideon obeyed but he did it at night because he was afraid.

Really?  God is talking to him and sending angels with fire and still Gideon is sneaking around at night?

The townspeople wanted to kill Gideon for cutting down the pole but a leader in town stopped them.  Who did that, Gideon?

Then God called Gideon to lead the Israelites into battle but Gideon still had to test God by laying out a fleece.  Twice!

When are you going to understand that this is God you’re dealing with, Gideon?

It appears like Gideon is starting to learn and trust God when he lets God limit his army to 300 men.  But then he takes a step back when he’s afraid and has to sneak into the Midianite camp to hear what’s going on before he will attack it.

From what we read, that looks like the final step of learning to trust God for Gideon because we don’t read of him testing God again or being afraid.  Gideon leads the Israelites into several successful battles without testing God first.

He learned to trust.

He got it.

So I have to ask myself – how well am I doing in learning to trust?  Do I get it?

How well are you doing?

Please help us to trust you, 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.

Are We Getting It?

Are we watching?

What are we thinking?

As I read the account of Gideon in the book of Judges, I wonder what he was thinking when he threw out a fleece so God could assure him that he was going to save Israel though Gideon.

And not just one fleece – but 2!march 19 2016 are we getting it yet

Gideon had already talked with the Angel of the Lord who gave him a sign by burning up Gideon’s offering with the tip of his staff.

When Gideon obeyed God’s command to tear down the Baal altar and Asherah pole, God showed that he was with him by protecting him from the hostile crowd.

After that, the Spirit of the Lord came onto Gideon which was special, unusual at that time – a clear sign that God was with him.

And – still – Gideon had to throw out fleeces to make sure God meant what he said.

The Angel wasn’t enough?

We see a clear picture of God’s mercy and patience with Gideon – and with us – in this story.  God did not send down a lightening bolt to kill Gideon even though Gideon’s faith was so shaky that he had to keep testing God.

God didn’t give up on Gideon and go find someone else who would understand that a visit from the Angel of the Lord should be enough.

God patiently passed the fleece tests 🙂 so that Gideon could actually believe that God was going to do what he said he would do.

God is so patient with us!  He knows we are weak and he loves us anyway.

One of our goals on this Journey towards the Truth is to grow our trust and faith in God.  As we get to know and understand God at a deeper level, we should be able to obey him without having to throw out fleeces.  His directions and desires should become more and more clear to us the closer we get to him.

That’s the journey that we’re on.

Thank you for your guidance, Abba Father.

Our God is Able

“Our God is able to deliver us.” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told King Nebuchadnezzar as they faced being thrown in the fiery furnace, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel  3: 17&18. )Sept 4 2015 our God is able

God is telling us today as we read this that he able to deliver us from any fiery furnace we are facing.  It was true for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and it is true now.  Our God does not change.  He will not change.

Every time I read this story,  I am struck by the words ‘But even if he does not’.  It’s one thing to put your life on the line if you don’t think you are going to die from it.

‘Even if he does not’ meant that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were totally trusting God with their lives and their deaths.  Either way, they were good.  They were committed.

They were willing to die rather than to be unfaithful to God.

Is our faith that strong?

Help us to grow our faith, Abba Father.

We Are Vulnerable

When our lives are not anchored daily on the Rock who is the God of our salvation, we are vulnerable….

to anything and everything.July 22 2015 we are vulnerable

I love how Nahum describes this in his 3rd chapter – “The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies.” (vs 13).

If we don’t have God protecting us and shielding us every day, we are wide open to whatever the Evil One wants to throw at us.

Whatever we think will keep us secure – if it’s not God – it will fail when it is shaken.

Whatever we put our trust in – if it’s not God – we’re in trouble.

Our jobs can disappear tomorrow.

Our bank accounts can disappear tomorrow.

Our health can disappear tomorrow.

Our possessions can disappear tomorrow.

Nahum tells us to ‘Look at your troops – they are all weaklings,” (vs 13).

We are weak and vulnerable when we aren’t walking hand in hand with God.

So Nahum challenges us – ‘get your act together’. (my version of vs 14).

Draw close to the Living Water.

Strengthen your spiritual disciplines of reading and meditating on God’s Word, regular participation in worship and prayers.

Do the hard work of forgiving others and repairing relationships.

Or “the fire will consume you; the sword will cut you down – they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.” (vs 15).

Nahum reminds us that our security is in God – nothing else.

Nahum tells us the truth – that all of the ‘things’ we put our security in will ‘fly away’ someday.

Only our relationship with God is secure.

Thank you, Abba Father.

He is Faithful

Do you have days where it feels like there are problems and challenges coming at you from all sides?

I do.March 31 2015 he is faithful

Issues come up at work.

Difficulties arise in my personal life.

These are also the times where I get a tooth ache or a cold.

Or I get a flat tire on my car.

And the washing machine stops working.

And the dog starts having a weird cough.

I know you’ve been there, too.

One of the blessings of being adopted by God as his child is knowing that we can reach out to God in the middle of all of this mess and he will give us peace.

He will give us strength.

We know from etchingJames 1 onto our minds that, when we persevere under trials by asking God for wisdom, he will always give us in a generous amount and we grow and mature.  We become complete.

God is always faithful.  David knew this.  We read in 1 Samuel that God had rescued David from the paw of a lion and the paw of a bear so David was confident that God would give him victory over Goliath.

What are the Goliaths that we’re facing today?

Dear Father, we ask for the bold confidence David had as we face our own Goliaths.  We know you are faithful.  You have always taken care of us in the past.  You will always love and care for us in the future.  Please help us live each day with that confidence – with that attitude – knowing you are helping us fight our lions, our bears and our Goliaths.  We love you, dear Father.  In the awesome name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Very Difficult

Waiting

Wondering.

Waiting some more.

Trying to be patient.Jan 18 2015 Very difficult

Wondering what’s going to happen.

Wondering if anything is going to happen.

Joseph was in prison.

For something he didn’t do.

He knew God was with him – God had proven that to him over and over.

Now Joseph was put in charge of the prison so he had a lot of freedom…..but he was still in prison.

Joseph had interpreted the baker and cupbearer’s dreams and asked them to remember him when they got out of prison.  They forgot.

And, two years later, Joseph was still in prison.  Two years.

He had to be wondering if anything else was going to happen.

It’s been a long time.

A very long time.

Am I supposed to take care of it on my own?

We get these thoughts, don’t we?

So we try to take control of situations and we mess it all up.

I recently had a family situation happen and I wanted to intervene.  I need to say something.  I needed to do something.  I even had myself convinced that it was my responsibility to do these things.

But, when I prayed about it, I could never get the ‘go ahead’ from God.

Very frustrating!

So I prayed some more and I knew I was not supposed to get involved.

Even more frustrating!

Finally, I received a call and found out that God had worked it all out – without me saying or doing anything!  And he had orchestrated it all in a much better way than I would have ever been able to.

Waiting.

Wondering.

Trusting.  That’s what it comes down to – trusting God.  We don’t have to wonder if he’s at work – he has promised that is taking care of it for us.

As he was for Joseph.

Two years later, Pharoah had a dream and the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph who is still sitting in prison.  When Joseph correctly interpreted the dream, Pharoah made him ruler of Egypt second only to himself.

How’s that for a plan?

In this role, Joseph was able to save Egypt and his own family from starvation in the great famine that was coming.

Waiting.

Knowing God is at work.

Trusting – that’s the key.

Please help us grow our trust in you, Abba Father.

Living Our Faith Out Loud

Think about the top official person of whatever you’re really interested in – the President of the United States, the Governor of your state, the Mayor of your city, the Commissioner of the National Football League :).  Imagine this person on TV announcing to everyone that ‘We are here today to give praise to the God of (your name).  (Your name) trusted in God and he came through for them.  So I am passing a new law that no one anywhere can say anything against this God.  For no other god can do what he did.”

This is bringing glory to God in a big way!  And this actually happened after Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego put their lives on the line in order to be faithful to God.Sept 7 2014 Because We Trust him

Very few of us get involved in a such a dramatic test of our faith.  But we have little tests all of the time.  Someone asks us a question where we could bring up God or not.  What to we do? Avoid the subject?  Not bring it up?  Or bring it up?  Let people who that we love God.

What do we choose?

As often happens when I write a blog like this, God challenged me 2 days ago about this same issue.  I was ordering a salad in the café in the office building where I work…I was in a hurry…lots of people I didn’t know standing around.  I often talk to the manager and he was taking my order.  When he was done, he asked me what plans I had for the weekend.

My plans this weekend were to be a group leader in an all-day discipleship training at church yesterday and go to church again today.   And fit in some time to get my hair done.  I was going to sound pretty ‘churchy’ if I shared my real plans, wasn’t I?  In front of all of these people?

I had already started this blog and I was immediately convicted about my second thoughts on sharing what I was really going to do.  So,  I told him the truth.  And he smiled and said he was planning to go to church Sunday, too.  How nice!  Now we have something more in common.

Little tests.  Small unexpected challenges to share what we’re REALLY doing or how we REALLY feel.

Please help us grow in being able to always live our Christian lives out loud, dear Father.

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.

Santa Claus is Not Coming to Town

Many years ago, God opened my eyes to the fact that my relationship with him needed to improve – I was treating him a lot like Santa Claus.  I would create a long prayer list of things for myself and others.  Then I would metaphorically climb into his lap, fold my hands, shut my eyes and start down my list of ‘wants’.July 25 2014 Santa Claus

After I was done, I would jump down from his lap and go on my way – expecting that he’d give me what I asked for.  If he didn’t, I’d add it to my list again and repeat myself – telling God what I wanted to happen.  If it still didn’t happen, I would feel some frustration starting – why weren’t these things happening?

Jeremiah talks to us about Judah mistreating their relationship with God in his second chapter.  He tells Judah that they have turned their backs on God.  But, when they are in trouble, they call on him to save them.  Jeremiah asks them why they don’t call out for help to the gods they serve every day – the gods they obviously worship?

For us, these false gods could be a variety of things – money, success, relationships – whatever we spend most of our time and money on.  Jeremiah tells us that – if these are our gods, why don’t we go to them when we have a need?  And stop blaming the True God when we don’t get what we want.

I am so grateful that God opened my eyes to how I was treating him like Santa Claus.  I said I loved him – is this how I showed him that?  Is this how I wanted my relationship with him to be?

I decided to always start my prayers with thanking God and that has helped me grow a more loving relationship with him.  It reminds me of his years and years of faithfulness to me and I am reassured that everything in the future is also in his hands.  I can trust him.  Most of my requests now center around asking for God’s will in situations.  He wants the best for us and that’s what I want as well.  So that’s what I ask for.

Yes, God also tells us to pray specifically.  I love, love the example of the persistent widow and that’s my ‘go to’ process when something big is going down.  Even when I pray for specific things, I will add ‘your will be done’.  Because that’s what I really want.

And, when we pray for what is in God’s will, it always happens.

We can avoid all the worry and stress – God’s got this!

Thank you, dear Father!