Friday, October 31, 2008
A.W. Tozer said "God is greater than the mind itself. His greatness cannot be conceived. If we could conceive of His greatness, He would be less than the human mind which could form the conception."
Since I can’t really conceive his greatness, maybe I should look at his “track record”. When I apply for a job, companies want to know what I have done, have I made a difference, what have I accomplished…
Let’s think for a minute what could be on God’s resume.
Created the World
Flooded the world but saved Noah and his family
Talked to Moses from a burning bush
Sent the Plagues on Egypt
Parted the Red Sea
Knocked down the walls of Jericho
Took Elijah straight to heaven without having to die first
Rescued Daniel from the Lions’ Den
Caused the sun to stand still for a day
Caused a virgin to have a child
Raised Lazarus from the dead
Conversion of Saul
Resurrection of Jesus
I’m sure I have left some off the list. What else would you put on God’s resume?
With this kind of “track record,” I would say this is someone you can depend on and trust.
He is the God of the Universe and yet He is personally interested in each of us. He loves each of us. He holds us in the palm of his hand. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He wants to be an integral part of our lives? Are you interested?
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the Lord, who is my refuge –
then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
Thursday, October 30, 2008
As you go through your day, acknowledge that you can’t do it, but God can. Put your dependence totally on God. Ask him for his strength, wisdom, and goodness – not your own. Place yourself totally in the hands of the Savior and ask him to carry you through your day. If things are going well, don’t forget that it is God who strengthens you. It is God that provides you with the ability to do your work. It is God who gives you favor. It is God who opens doors for you. It isn’t about you, it’s about Jesus. It is God who deserves all the honor and glory. Be sure to give him the praise!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When you really think about Psalm 23, isn’t it silly to worry?
The Lord is my shepherd, I’ll never get this report done and my life will be ruined.
The Lord is my shepherd and I’ll never pass this test and I’ll fail this class.
The Lord is my shepherd and my family will starve to death because my spouse is unemployed.
It doesn’t go quite like that. It is the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. We may be caught in difficult circumstances but that doesn't change who God is or what he has promised.
It is impossible to say, “I will fear no evil for I am a strong and powerful person.” No matter how powerful you are, there is always something or someone that could do you harm. Accidents and illness can affect anyone at any time. Verse 4 doesn’t say that – it says the exact opposite. I will fear no evil, for you are with me. With the Lord as your shepherd, you can face anything, any problem, any difficulty, any sorrow, any suffering. Not only can you face these obstacles but you can face them with confidence. That confidence comes from the fact that the God of the Universe goes with you through it all.
Psalm 23 “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Friday, October 24, 2008
Life is full of problems. I’ve had my share this week. I am the technology director at a private K-12 school outside of Atlanta, GA. We fully embrace technology and use it regularly for just about everything. This week, we got blacklisted by several email providers, our web site went down, and our school information system went down. Our firewall was working great – except it blocking us from accessing our own sites! All in all, a bad week for us here in the tech department.
Now I get to choose how I am going to let all that affect me. Am I going to start complaining to everyone I see? Am I going to “yell” at the guys in my department? Or, am I going to be a positive person? Am I going to look for ways to encourage the guys on my team? None of what happened this week is their fault – they just had to deal with it and get things fixed. It is my job to speak positively and be an encourager.
I am blessed to have a wonderful 15 year-old daughter. One of the things that makes her special is her faith and her walk with God. Even at 15, we still have a prayer time together every night before she goes to bed. She prays about her school work – as a normal high school student would. But, she also prays for her friends, kids at school who are sick, and every night we pray that God will show us how to be a blessing in someone else’s life tomorrow. We are convinced that God wants to use us to bless others around our school.
How are you encouraging others? Are you a positive influence in the lives of others? Does your attitude cause others to want to be with you or run from you? Pray about who you might encourage and then do it.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if any-thing is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Nothing too deep today. Just thinking how very much Jesus loves me. It is hard to grasp that kind of unconditional, everlasting, free love.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Do you understand the Lord and know Him? Do you know the difference between working in the ministry and serving the Lord? You could be doing the same activities but the difference would be attitude and perspective.
I am very busy but is it all necessary? I've thought about the story of Mary and Martha that comes from Luke 10. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to him speak. Her eyes and heart were fixed on Him. Her heart was open to His voice. Martha was very worried about taking care of all the work and preparations. She was so consumed with what needed to be done; she missed the point of Jesus' visit.
I am like Mary in that I long to sit at Jesus' feet but the daily demands of this life make it hard. I am like Martha in that I love Jesus and really want to serve him, yet I struggle with weariness. This is a hard thing to balance. I often feel like I’m not godly enough, not loving enough, and not doing enough.
What I need to learn is that I am satisfied only as I rest in Him. As I rest in Him, I actually strengthen my service and I do it with less stress and more joy.
Luke 10:38-42 "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Romans 5:1 – 6 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. .Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (bold mine)
Faith and hope are great tools in our walk with God. It is by our faith that we have access to God. It is by faith that we accept his promises. It is through faith that we have peace with God and the hope of eternal life. Standing on our faith in God as we go through trials will produce hope in our lives. This hope comes to us from God. This hope strengthens us and helps us continue to walk in Christ.
Hope is not to be confused with wish or desire. Hope has a much stronger meaning. Biblical hope is a confidence that I have, as a Christian, in my Savior. A Christian’s hope is bold, strong, and true. Hope is not something I can see with my eyes. My hope in the Lord is a promise of a future in heaven with the Lord. My hope in the Lord is a gift from God. A gift that is so wonderful it is hard to grasp its meaning.
My hope is build on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.
In this uncertain time we are living in, I was thinking how glad I am that my hope does not rest on my finances or wealth, but in Jesus.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
2 Peter 1 :3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”
I was thinking today about who God is and how much He loves me. He has given me everything I need. He is wonderful, strong, powerful, just, gracious, long suffering, wise, merciful, compassionate. In light of who He is, I am nothing. My righteousness is like filthy rags before Him, and yet He loves me and accepts me. He gives me everything I need for life. I simply need to accept it and be thankful.
Friday, October 17, 2008
What I was thinking of today was I wished there was a pill I could take that would make me hunger for God’s Word the way the steroid has made me hunger for physical food.
How do I create an Appetite for God?
I cannot maintain a strong, healthy appetite for God unless I give myself totally to Him – without reservation, with a singleness of mind and will. To do this I have to make a decisive, deliberate surrender of myself to God. Paul said we need to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1)
I need to meet with God regularly. Get started and make it a habit. Studies have shown that if you do something consistently for 30 days, it becomes a learned behavior – a habit. To hunger after God is to purposefully set aside time to meet with Him, to read His Word, and to pray.
Be obedient – My sinful nature can give me lots of reasons why I shouldn’t obey the plainly written Word of God. But, as a Christian, I am called to walk in the Spirit, not to walk after the flesh. By walking in the light, I will enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with God and maintain a spiritual appetite.
Pray honestly - A.W. Tozer once wrote that the only prayers that God responds to are honest prayers. There is so much phoniness in much of our praying because we ourselves are living a phony life.
Be humble before God. My devotional time is a time for gut wrenching honesty. Humble myself before Him. It’s a time for confessing my shortcomings, my lack of passion for God, my careless words, my bad attitudes, my lack of zeal and purpose. It is a time to quit pretending. It is a time to be transparent.
Abide in Christ continually – Practice the Presence of Christ
To learn to abide in Christ is one of the keys to a life of power and fruitfulness. To abide in Christ is to exchange my weaknesses for His strength; to exchange my inability for His ability; to exchange my self-reliance for his all-sufficiency; to exchange my independence for His power. I’ve heard of it being called “practicing the presence of Christ in your life.” I like the word practice. I need to continue to work on it, practice it, develop that attitude in my life.
Remember Jesus promised, " Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
David said in Psalms 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth”. Praise is not a moment but it is a lifestyle.
God alone is worthy of our devotion, praise and worship. He is our Creator, and we are commanded to praise and worship Him. Psalm 96:9 says, "Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth." Psalm 29:2 says, "Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
A.W. Tozer said, "Without worship, we go about miserable." God doesn't want us to be miserable -- He has a perfect plan for our lives. He has done so many things to show us that He loves us and doesn't want us to be miserable. He wants us to have hope for a future with Him --he wants us to have eternal life in heaven with Him. A life of praise and worship fills our deepest needs, and amazingly, it also brings great joy to God. Zephaniah 3:17 states, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
There are some people who think that praise and worship can only happen at church. Or, that it can only happen when they are singing songs. It is much more than that. It is a condition of your heart. It is a willingness to exalt God and yield to His will. Worship is an expression of love and awe to the God of the universe – to the God that gives us more than we deserve. You are called to worship God with every action, every breath, every day of your life. God is holy, loving, and worthy of our worship and praise.
Praise is a lifestyle. Make it your lifestyle.
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:5)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The next morning, I got up and left for work. My husband called me later that morning to tell me that the car wouldn't start and that he would have to miss work and get it towed to a garage. I couldn't believe it. That was the car we had just made our long trip in. That was the car that we had shut off in traffic the night before. How crazy was it that now it wouldn't start?
We believe that God protected us that night and got us home. We believe God knows all things and is in charge of all things. We don't believe in coincidences or chance. Our God is a God of details. He knew that a sensor was about to go bad in our engine -- don't ask me what that means. He permitted us to get home before allowing that to happen. We are counting our blessings and praising God for his protection!
Luke 12:7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
This reminds me that not a day goes by that we don’t step out into our day with a plan to accomplish our goals. We may set out to do good things, to help others, to be a servant. What we don’t realize is that temptation and sin are just around the corner. They are looking for us to grab hold of us. They want to spread their poison all over our lives. They want to take us away from what we had set out to do.
We need to know how to recognize sin and run from it. Just as I never saw the poison ivy but now get to pay the consequences for getting into it, so it is with sin. Watch out for sin and run from it. Even a minor brush with sin will leave its mark on you.
"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).
Friday, October 10, 2008
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
There are so many things that can take time away from your life. My big one is work. Work occupies most of my waking moments. I rarely have time for recreation. I rarely have time for fun. I still try hard to carve time out of my day though for my relationship with God, because that is what my life is supposed to be founded on. I’m not talking about just doing the “fun Christian stuff," like extra activities at church. If all you do is go socialize at church events, that’s not really building your foundation. You need to be in a church that teaches the Word, but it doesn’t stop there. Until you personally take that Word and apply it to your life, it does very little good. Make sure your relationship with God is deep, not superficial. Read the Word; think about it; mediate on it; apply it to your life. Be quick to pray in all sorts of situations. This will continually transform your life. This is building your life on the solid rock. When the hard times of life come; you’ll be ready.
No matter who you are, the storms of life will come. They may come in the form of financial storms, medical storms, relational storms, or some other kind of storm. Whatever your storm, if your foundation is not on the rock (Jesus), your life will come apart. If the foundation of your life is money, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is work, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is sports, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is material possessions, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is pride, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is Jesus Christ, it will not fall, but it will endure all storms. Jesus will hold you together, strengthen you, and give you a way to survive all the storms that life may throw at you.
With Jesus as your foundation you will find the love that will make you thankful for people in your life, you will be forgiving to the people in your life, you will have the strength to weather the storms of this life but you will also have the hope of an eternal life.
Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to any of us, and I pray that we will build our life on him. Life is full of ups and downs, but nothing is as fun, exciting, and adventurous as living life with Jesus. Just try him and you will see. Have a great day and life with Jesus!
** I’ll be out of town and away from my blog until about Tuesday.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"You can't be mad at God and at the same time not believe He exists."
You have to believe in Him in order to be mad at Him.
Is it okay to be mad at God?
I think it is OK to go ahead and be mad at God but remember that it isn't going to do much good. God is in control and we are not. We cannot twist God's arm and make Him do something. He will do things in his own way and in his own time. We may not understand all that is happening now but remember that God is not confined to time. He can see the beginning and the end. He knows what is best for us. God does want us to be honest. As I read the Psalms, I see lots of times where David was mad at God. Anger is an honest emotion. Be respectful in your anger but also be honest. Keep seeking Him and keep in the Word. God will help you through your anger.
As I look at some of the "Giants" of the faith, many of them were angry with God at one some point in time.
Abraham dickered with God over Sodom.
Jacob wrestled with God.
Jonah ran away from God (and then, even after getting on the right path, was angry at God for drying up his gourd).
If you are angry with God, you're up there with the best of them.
Job 5:17-18 "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal."
Monday, October 6, 2008
Dwell in His presence by faith, and gaze upon His beauty.
Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
Psalm 61:4 “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 63:2 “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.”
Psalm 15:1-2 “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart.”
Psalm 24:4-5 “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.”
Psalm 84:2 “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
Psalm 84:10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”
Saturday, October 4, 2008
How can I know God’s will?
Does God’s Word contain an answer to your question? Search the scriptures and try to find the answer.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
If you find your answer in Scripture then it is a matter of obedience.
What if there is no direct answer in Scripture?
Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
Pray for an answer and be willing to accept the answer God sends. Try to determine if the thing you are praying about is necessary. Is it really important? If you didn’t get it or do it, would anything suffer? Will it take your eyes off of Jesus? Will it be a “weight” in your life? Will it make it hard for you to “finish the race.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Will it matter or make a difference in your life? If I do this thing, will it make a difference in me? If so, will the difference make me closer to God? Will it matter 5 years from now? How about 20 years from now? Does it matter in light of eternity?
Pray for wisdom and discernment. Don’t rationalize – be honest with yourself. Don’t follow the idea of “do it now and ask for forgiveness later.” That’s abusing the grace God has extended to you.
James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
God’s will never contradicts His word.
God’s will never goes against His nature.
It is God’s will for us to be saved.
It is God’s will for us to be obedient.
It is God’s will for us to study the Word.
It is God’s will for us to build each other up.
It is God’s will for us to grow closer to him.
Friday, October 3, 2008
There is a difference between knowing the truth, talking about the truth, studying the truth, and letting the truth touch your life in such a way that you surrender your life to the truth. If he is already with us all the time, then we just need to let go of our defenses and submit to His will.
God is infinitely kind but He is still God and he demands that we come to Him on his terms. We have to humble ourselves and accept His way of living. We have to repent of our sin and change our behavior.
Understand who it is you are dealing with. This is the God of the universe. He wants us to come to Him humbled, grateful and obedient. When we do, we will know that “at his right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
So no more wasting time. Surrender and get on with enjoying his pleasures.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
“Walk by Faith”
Will I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day
Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me
Help me to RID my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With the one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do
“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Many people claim to believe in God, but do they really have faith in Him? It is easy to say that you believe there is a God and that Jesus exists. It’s a whole other thing to really trust him. Are you willing to go where he wants you to go and do what he wants you to do? Do you trust him with everything that happens every day?
Faith is what links us to every promise from God. It is what brings us blessings. By faith, I mean a living and active faith, not a dead faith. There is a lot of difference between those two. You can know everything there is to know about God and that won’t save you. It takes faith to believe God and then act. If you really do believe, you will act.
Hebrews says “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” True faith takes what God says without any conditions. In order to know what God says, we have to spend time in His word. It is there that we learn who God is, who we are, and what God has prepared for us.
Faith in God is having confidence that God is who he says he is and that he will fulfill all His promises and bring salvation to you. You have to say, “If God said it, I believe it.” You can’t just believe some things, you have to believe all things are possible with God. (Matt 19:26)
Problems will come and our faith will be tested. We then have to choose whether we will act in our own strength or trust in God to see us through. Don’t be afraid to fail. We all fail at times; it is part of learning how to walk. Just get up, and move on, and learn from your failure.