March 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
I got behind. Out of routine, out of time, out of sync.
Behind in my Chronological Bible reading. I needed to read half of the March 27th reading and all of March 28th reading on March 28th.
Reading the Bible in chronological order means I am in the Old Testament and will be for most of the year. The Old Testament is filled with genealogies, lists of names, strange geographical locations, and extensive descriptions of how to build a tabernacle. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all these things have meaning and reason and order. In fact, I ask God as I read these things to teach me what I need to learn.
Even so, the rebel sigh still escapes my lips as I see a mind numbing list of names I have no hope of pronouncing. So I closed my Bible in my fatigue on March 27th, wondering why I needed a recap of what I just read about who Israel had defeated in their conquest of the Promised Land.
Today as I wrestled with doubts, frustrations, wondering why God is bringing me down a certain road, pondering longing and it remaining unfulfilled, questioning my next steps, I opened my Bible to get caught up. Not only to say I had read my Bible for March 28th, but also to spend some quiet with my LORD. Oh how I needed quiet.
In that raw place I my eyes read Joshua 12 with the heading “A List of Defeated Kings.” My first inclination was to sigh, but my sigh caught in my throat as I came face to face with what I needed. What I need when doubt attempts to tie me down and fear attempts to turn me from my God ordained plow. I need a list. I need a list of kings defeated in my life – defeated only by God’s hand.
I need a list of sin I have overcome through God, of God ordained “coincidences,” of victories in my Spiritual Journey. I need a list. A list that I can bring out to remind myself what God has done and what He is doing in my life. A list that drives away doubt, that reminds me of God’s miraculous provision, that screams of God’s sovereignty during dark times, that recounts when God ordered my steps for His purposes. Yes I need a list in my life, a prayer journal full of God’s answers, a blog recounting what God has taught me, a friend or loved one who walked the road with me and can remind me of my list.
Do you have a list? How do you keep your list? Do you want to start one? I challenge you to start a list with me…Tuesdays at Rethinking My Thinking will become our List Days. Days to share what God is doing in our lives. I can’t wait to hear what He is doing in your lives!
January 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
August 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
When God is teaching me something, He often gives me opportunities at putting those new lessons in action. I had no idea that a lamp would provide such a lesson, but then again who knew a plunger could help either?
I recently purchased a lamp for my second blessing, L. Her bare nightstand begged for a lamp, both for utility and for cute-ness. So as I browsed through Target a few days ago, I discovered a cute, well priced lamp. I bought it with a bit of trepidation. What if E, L’s older sister, likes it better than her current lamp? I decided it could be a learning experience. I learned that I needed a lesson too.
When we placed the lamp on the night stand, E started crying. Honestly, I wanted to tell her to get over
it and deal. Once again, God’s heavenly hand landed firmly on my mouth. Instead, I took E to my room and we talked. She told me she no longer liked her lamp, L’s lamp is prettier. I prayed silently because I didn’t know what to say. My compassionate voice belied the frustration in my heart. I taught her better right? God told me, “yes daughter, as I have taught you. You compare, you wonder why not me, you say I don’t want this any more because what someone else has is better.” Suddenly I admitted my shortcomings to my sweet E. I told her how difficult life is when we compare. Instead of comparing, we need thankfulness. E admitted how hard it is to feel thankful when you like what some else has better. I prayed for her and gave her time to pray and ask God to help her. I described the consequence she would endure if she continued to fuss. She would lose her lamp.
That is true of us too. We lose our joy for what we have when we compare. If we allow frustration to mount, we often
lose what we have. Once again God brought me face to face with myself. I often “if only,” or “it must be nice,” my joy for the day away. I get frustrated that something broke instead of being thankful I have it at all. Sometimes I convince myself being thankful for what I have is too difficult. I can’t do it. Can you see God looking at me thinking, “IT IS JUST A LAMP! BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE!” I am thankful for His patience – thankful that His “kindness leads me to repentance.” (Romans 2:4b) God’s goal is not to leave me in my sin, but He desires I come closer to Him and more like Christ.
So what did I learn? I learned first that patience and discussion, instead of the heavy-handed “deal with it” method leads myself and my children to change. I am not saying I will never spank again, but if it is God’s kindness that leads me to repentance, then my kindness will prayerfully bring my children into obedience and repentance as well. That doesn’t mean there are not consequences, it just means when I lay down the law, I do it with kindness and grace. Secondly I once again learned that comparison is not my friend. It robs me of joy, it holds me in bitterness, and leaves me bereft.
How about you? Did the lamp lesson turn any lights on? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
August 7, 2010 § 3 Comments
Samuel at the end of his tenure as Israel’s High Priest and Judge, probably felt like an epic failure. His sons were not following in his faith. They behaved wickedly, took bribes, and did not obey God. (1 Samuel 8) Not only did his sons not follow God, but the whole nation was looking for an earthly king. They were not satisfied with God as their king. They wanted to be like the other nations who had kings. I am sure Samuel felt rejected. God even reassured Samuel that it is not Samuel the Israelites are rejecting, but God. (1 Samuel 8:7) Samuel had failed to pass on his faith to this stiff-necked people. However, he did the most amazing thing during his farewell speech.
Samuel, the spiritual leader for Israel, was giving his going away speech. I am amazed at what he says to this people who are not following his leading, this people who have asked for an earthly king, this people who continue to choose anything rather than God. Samuel says, “…far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you…” (1 Samuel 12:23) Samuel calls it a sin against God to not pray for those he is leading. Not a sin against the people he is leading. Not an oversight, no, he calls it a sin.
I must confess, I have been sinning against God. I have NOT prayed for friends and family as I should. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” ALL the saints, ALWAYS, ALL occasions pray! In this I have failed. Can I say that divorce would not have happened if I prayed or that illness would not have come if I prayed. No. That is only something God knows. What I do know is that when I fail to pray, on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests, I sin. I fail because I am human. I fail because I focus on my self, my stuff, my needs. Oh, but I fail. Don’t you think Satan loves it when we fail like this. Honestly, I don’t know how or why God uses our prayers to further His cause, but He does. The verse from Ephesians follows the description of the Armor of God. So we are not prepared for battle unless we are praying in the Spirit on ALL occasions. When we aren’t praying it is like expecting to be able to win a basketball game without practice. It won’t happen. I am so glad that God is so forgiving and full of grace!
Father, forgive me for failing to pray for my friends, family, children, church, kids in my Sunday School class, ladies in my old MOPS group. Forgive me. Father, help keep the prayer part of my mind on at all times. Help me develop tools to remember who to pray for and what to pray. Father most of all give me Your heart for the lost and hurting of this world. The needs are many and great. Often I cannot do much for the needs, but I can pray and that is more important than anything else. Thank You for giving us the gift of prayer. That we can boldly approach Your throne and lay our requests at Your feet. You are God. Thank You for loving us all! Amen!
April 24, 2010 § 1 Comment
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” How painfully true this statement often is in my life. Have you ever known in your head something to be true or logical, but your heart kept telling you different. It is like when you were a kid and you started singing, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat some worms.” When something happened that you didn’t like at home or at school. Your brain was telling you, “look you are liked, your parents like you, your friends like you, even your sister likes you (most of the time), and God, well, He loves you ALL of the time.” However your heart kept saying, “Nobody likes me.” Oh or “Nobody understands me.” When we let our hearts have free reign our minds lose the battle for control.
We spiral down the woe is me slide until we come face to face with depression or something like it. The world tells us to listen to our hearts, but God says they are SICK. They can’t make up their minds, they are deceitful…They lie. Our emotions sometimes lie to us. They tell us that what feels good is good. They convince us that we deserve better or we are entitled to something that isn’t in God’s plan for us. We often put our minds in neutral and give our hearts the reign. The problem?! Well, God says our hearts are deceitful. So when hard times come, if we consult our hearts they often tell us to run when God tells us to stay. Our hearts may even tell us that God doesn’t care or listen when our minds tell us that God loves us proved it by sending His Son. Our hearts may twist God’s word to confuse us.
So what do we do with our lying deceitful hearts? We tell them the truth and cling to it no matter what. You heart is telling you that you can’t trust God? Tell it, “God’s lovingkindness is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.” Ps 103:17 Your heart says this marriage is too hard, I don’t love him/her any more. Tell it, “Love is patient, love is kind…” 1Cor 13 Your heart says God doesn’t love you! Tell it, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
You see our mind can win the battle over our deceitful hearts, if we fill our minds with God’s word. What are you filling your mind with? Is it junk that is wasting your space? Is it listening to the lies our hearts try to tell us? Or are you filling your minds with God’s word? Are you arming yourself with the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God?” Or are you coming to the battlefield without a weapon? Oh Father, that I would be prepared for the battles within me. That I would know and LOVE Your word so much that I would feast on it. That Your word would be the air I breathe in and the words I speak out. Father, through Your Spirit, and by Your word may I struggle against the lies from my heart so that I may please You in all I do.
March 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
So a sweet friend of mine posted on her facebook page the following question:
Are you Free in Jesus Christ? If you are – how did you get there? If not – why are you not there?
Here is an expanded version of my answer to my sweet friend. By the way, I LOVE it when my brothers and sisters in Christ ask me questions to ponder about Him!
Positionally I am free! When I accepted Jesus as my savior, I was set free from being a slave to sin and death. Col 2:13-15 However sometimes those old shackles of sin are comfortable. They are what I am used to, they are sickeningly my friends. Sometimes they are my excuse. I can’t because what will people think, I can’t because I mess up too often. I can’t because I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. I can’t because I know I will mess up and then what will people say. Sometimes they are my vices, my sin, my mistakes that I think disqualify me from God’s grace or mercy or even His desire to use me. Sometimes they are just the things I want to do or I think are important, but are not God’s BEST for me. Sometimes they are my selfish desires and they keep me locked away from God. Locked away from being used to reach others. James 4:17
However when I read and dwell on His word, when I confess sin, when I allow God to direct my thinking. 2Cor 10:5 Phil 4:8 His truth can be lived out as freedom in my life. Why? Because my security is in my savior who loves me unconditionally who died for me who has a plan and purpose for my life that will have eternal significance! I Cor. 15:3-4, John 10:10, Jer 29:11, That means I have purpose every day I have something God intends me to do or say that will matter for all eternity. That means that God has equipped and prepared me to accomplish His will. IPet 4:10 That also means that I have value because God chose me, God equips me, God LOVES me…
So, positionally I am free. That work was done of the cross. Romans 6:18 However daily,let’s be honest, this can be a minute by minute choice I must choose between the chains or the freedom that comes from an intimate relationship with Him. through His word, through prayer, through praise, through fasting, through serving Him in all I say and do. Oh that battle that wages in me that battle not against flesh and blood but against those spiritual forces of darkness. Eph 6:12 Praise God He equips us for the battle! Eph 6:10-18 Praise God the One who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world! I John 4:4