Owner’s Manual

April 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

I avoid owners manuals like the plague. If I can’t figure out how to use something then it isn’t easy enough. I get irritated if it doesn’t make sense or I can’t make it work the way I want it to work. Then if I actually have to find the owner’s manual, I grumble, complain, and sometimes I give up.

Unfortunately I often treat life that way. It isn’t easy so I get irritated. I want it to work my way and when it doesn’t I throw a fit. I try everything I can imagine to get life to go my way and to work. I attempt to use my gifts and talents like I do a phone or computer. Straight out of the box. I expect that I can do it, on my own with no manual.

The truth is that God gave us a manual for life, The Bible. The catch is we actually have to read it. Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Our lives will be successful in God’s eyes, if we remember He says and do it. We can only do this if we read His word. The owner’s manual of life has transforming power in our lives. Oh that I would allow God’s Word to change my life.

So my question for today is what are you doing to make sure you spend time with God’s Word every day? I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

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Pay Attention…

April 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

My blood pressure sky rockets as I say the same sentence for what feels like the millionth time. My words are unheeded. Water continues to fill the cup held by a small hand. The cup overflows. My floor is wet.

He didn’t pay attention.

As a rule we all need to pay attention or life can pass us by. One second we are sitting in high school waiting for life to begin and the next we are laying in a hospital bed wondering what happened in between.

As believers in Jesus, the God-man, the Word made flesh, our Passover Lamb, we are to pay attention as well. Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews chapter one is all about who Jesus is. That He is the God-man, not an angel, but fully God and fully man. Already there were people who were trying misrepresent Jesus. They were trying to say He wasn’t God.

So the writer of Hebrews tells us to pay attention. He doesn’t say pay attention to all these great thinkers. These men who have wonderful ideas that “feel” right or fit your idea of how God would do things. No this writer tells us don’t focus on all the counterfeit arguments. Focus on what is real. The people who received this letter did not have a Bible like we do today. Most likely many couldn’t read, instead they heard the epistles (that fancy word for letters) and the gospels read aloud. Some of these ancient readers or listeners may have even known some of the disciples or apostles personally. So this writer is telling these people to pay attention to the truth.

Today we have God’s word bound in leather, cardboard, paper, or even unbound (electronically). So we need to pay attention to what we have heard in God’s word. Not some fancy speaker’s amazingly crafted speech or a pastor’s wonderfully worded book. No we need to pay MORE CAREFUL ATTENTION to God’s word. Why? So we don’t drift away. So we aren’t led astray. So we build our faith on true knowledge, on the truth of God’s word.

Are you distracted from God’s word? Are you focused on thoughts, ideas, figuring out God’s plan and redemption in your human mind? How do you think you can refocus on God’s word?

Are you paying attention to God’s word? What are you doing to “pay more careful attention” to His word? What can you do to help your attention span?

I can’t wait to hear from you all! Join in, comment, become a facebook fan, consider getting e-mail updates. Thanks for stopping by!

My Not-So-Spiritual SIGH!

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.

Sweet Rest...

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!

Why is it So Hard?

March 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you know I am memorizing James and I am praying on my knees for at least 15 minutes a week. Are you joining me? Let me know by leaving a comment and telling me about where you are in James or what God has been doing in your prayer time.

Anyway, I have made it to James 3 and here came this verse:

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. James 3:2

First I am struck with we all stumble…Not only do we stumble, but we stumble in many ways. OUCH! That is pretty harsh. I don’t like to admit that I stumble at all and now James is telling me that we all stumble in many ways. Then he mentions our words. Yes our words…If we are never at fault in what we say, we are perfect. Seems simple right?


So why is it so hard? Why can’t we never be at fault in what we say? Why do words matter so much that if we could keep our tongue in check we would be perfect?

Words…I want to use life-giving words. I want to pass on wise words, words of grace, words of truth. But too often my words are harsh, they tear down, they convey irritation.

Words are that important. Jesus confirms this when He says, “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45b)

We speak what is in our hearts. If our hearts are in check our words will be in check…So our words are a good indicator of the condition of our hearts. Are we speaking in love and with patience or are we irritated and grumpy? God is more interested in our hearts than our actions. We can fake a lot of things, but our words often give away where our hearts are…

Let’s do some heart checks. We need to think about what we have said, ask others if what we say is harsh or said in love. We need to measure our words carefully. They are important.

What do you think? Are words really something that can “never hurt me” unlike sticks and stones? Is it possible that words are important and that they show the condition of our hearts? Do you have a story about that? I can’t wait to hear it!

Here is another post I did on the Word…Click here to read it.

Do I Really Pray?

March 10, 2011 § 11 Comments

I am studying the book of Daniel in Bible Study. I struggle studying prophecy. I just don’t have pertinent historical facts filed away in my brain. Then there are about as many ways to interpret prophecy as there are people. So the prophetic portions of Daniel have taught me three things. God has a plan, His plan cannot be thwarted, and God wants us to be alert and ready for His return.

This week we studied Daniel chapter 9. Here is where God just got up in my grill. Like the baseball manager who presses his belly against the umpire’s chest protector and screams his displeasure. Only it was God voicing His displeasure with love, while I – the lowly manager of the time, talents, and resources He has given me – go all silent. Then I get the look. That sheepish one. You know that look of suddenly realizing you are in the wrong and how foolish you look.

Well there I was studying for Bible study, after I had read my quiet time passage, and written my blog post. I had done some pretty good time with God today. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I saw it…Daniel was reading his Bible too. The book of Jeremiah to be exact and when he got to a certain place, he did something. He put on sackcloth, sat in ashes, fasted, and prayed.

So backing up here, I had read my Bible, written a blog post to encourage others to be more Godly, and was studying my Bible, but God’s word hadn’t driven me to pray. I wasn’t moved in my emotions or my thinking. I was studiously checking things of my list. As if God cares about sacrifice. NO He cares about a broken and contrite spirit. He wants my faith, my time in the word to be translated into action. Specifically He wants me to pray for myself, for others, for our nation, for other nations.

I pray. I pray as I get up, as I wash dishes, I pray with each of my kids as they wake up and when they go to sleep. I pray on the fly, everywhere. But do I pray? Do I sit down without computer, phone, distraction and really pray? Do I come before God like Daniel did to confess sins, to ask for mercy. Do I sit still on my knees and pray? I confess not very often and by that I mean once a month would be stretching it.

Do I ever REALLY PRAY? Does God expect me to pray that way? I mean Him and me and nothing else…On my knees? Jesus prayed. He prayed for hours. Could it be that my bed bound grandmother is doing more kingdom work as she prays throughout her day than I do as I chase my kids, write, speak, teach Sunday School, and lead small groups?

What would it look like if I would at least weekly spend 5, 10, 15 minutes on my knees literally?

So here it is…I commit to spend at least 15 minutes a week on my knees in intentional prayer time. This does not change my pray continually lifestyle that I am still working on. No, it just adds a new dimension.

Anyone care to join me? Let’s talk more about this subject of prayer. I can’t wait to hear what God is telling you! I hope you join me!

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Waiting and Strengthening

February 22, 2011 § 6 Comments

Her eyes sparkle with awe, wonder, joy. Suddenly her eyes moisten slightly as sadness darkens her countenance. Her eyes betray her inner struggle, but only briefly.

The joy returns as she bends to talk to my little man.

I recognize the emotion in her eyes. I have seen it before – in the mirror.

It is the joy, awe, wonder that a child, a young child exudes. It is the pure joy of watching an image-bearer begin to figure life out. Oh, but then the stab of reality, the pang of truth. I want what I haven’t been able to have. I want a brand-new image-bearer of my own.

It happened to me the other day. While eating at a restaurant with a friend, a precious infant was seated within reach of me. She had chubby rolls, dark hair, and huge bow atop her precious head. She smiled at me, over and over again. Precious, amazing, a gift – one I may never receive again.

My eyes mist. My heart longs, but somehow there is peace. As if God Himself bent low to wrap me in His arms. In His arms the waiting is somehow easier, pressed against His chest, wrapped in His arms, the love of a Father who holds our tears in a bottle, who is the God of all comfort. When I turn my hopes, plans, and dreams over to Him, as I lay my dreams down at His feet again, my mind is renewed, my heart is strengthened, and my soul is at rest.

As I cling to the foundation, the Precious Corner Stone, Jesus, as I wait on Him, I am strengthened. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength…” It is in the clinging and waiting that I am strengthened.

God asks us to wait to strengthen us for what is next, for what is now, and for what may never be. Isn’t He good to strengthen us?

What are you waiting on God for? Please share so we call be praying for each other!

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Amazed by God

February 21, 2011 § 4 Comments

Don’t ask me why, but I am still amazed at God. I guess that is good, but it seems I should expect Him to do something unexpected. Yet I am forever amazed. What has so amazed me this time?

That He would use me.

Don’t get me wrong. I think I am pretty smart, I accepted Christ at a young age, I have gifts…I mean I can cook a great meal (not so great at the clean-up part), I can sing tolerably well, I LOVE to teach others stuff God has taught me, I adore writing. Here is where it gets sticky…I often get in the way

Yes I have gifts, but who gave them to me? GOD! Yes I can use my skills (in the kitchen, choir, microphone, or pen) to bring God glory. Oh, but I try to steal that glory. If I am not careful it becomes all about me, when deep down because God’s Spirit lives in me, I really what it to be for HIM!

Knowing that I try to steal God’s glory, being aware of my sinful, depraved nature, makes me amazed. Amazed that He would use me. Each door He has opened has driven me to my knees, face to the floor, in AWE of HIM! I don’t deserve it, but He does it anyway. Pretty amazing stuff!

So with that in mind, I begin my list of things I am thanking God for…

226. (in)courage featured me as a daily guest!
227. warm showers
228. God is bigger than all the issues I wrestle Him over
229. the blessing I receive when I wrestle with God
230. my life forever changed by the wrestling
231. strength comes as I wait for the Lord…just wish I was better at the waiting
232. the sound of the washer and dryer
233. honest critiques that sharpen me
234. red and white tulips (my hubby brought me flowers again)
235. siblings showing love
236. new jeans
237. birthday gifts that come in the mail after my birthday (extending the celebration)
238. encouragement given from unexpected people
239. support of my sweet man
240. watching my husband play with the kids
241. patches of sunlight through skylights that move as the earth rotates
242. our amazing bodies, how the ward of sickness, fight disease, our Creator is amazing!
243. the quiet right before the sun rises you can almost feel it
244. at dusk when the world seems to glow golden
245. the privilege to speak to 5th and 6th graders about purity (pray for me Wed night)
246. discussing ideas with my sister on the phone
247. the stillness after my blessings go to bed
248. the crazy sounds of morning as we all get ready for the day
249. the sound of my kids singing worship songs
250. the sound of my husband’s laugh

Please share with me the amazing things God is doing for you. What are you thankful for? Often amazing things are things that we are thankful for! I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

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