Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Archive for January, 2010

Overanalyze it?

Do you find yourself overanalyzing things?  I do.  Sometimes that’s a good thing and other times, it is just wasted energy. 

The other day as I walked out of a room and back into it, my dog wagged her tail as if I had been gone a long time. She was happy to see me.  It made me think about how God sees us.  I heard a pastor one time say that when we wake up, God is delighted to see us.  He loves us so much that He wants to spend time with us.  Some people are going to take this wrong but let me preface this by saying that the things God created gave us glimpses of His glory and I’m using this as that.  I am not saying that God is like a dog.  I am saying to open your mind and see Him as the loving God that He truly is.

No matter how bad I feel, no matter how bad I look, no matter how bad my breath is…my dog loves me.  She doesn’t care if my hair is messy or if I am wearing make-up. She doesn’t seem to notice. She wags her tail happily as I come into the room and licks my face whenever she can get to it.  I accept that love without question.  Do we accept the agape love from God that He so freely gives us as easily as we do from one of our pets?

How many of us are “hiding” in shame from God because of who we are inside?  Do you realize you cannot “hide” from God?  He knows every intimate detail of your life.  HE created it! He sees everything you do in secret.  He knows your inmost thoughts.  Yet, in spite of all of that, He loves you anyway.  It has NOTHING to do with what you have or haven’t done.  It is who HE is.  He IS love.  He cannot deny Himself. 

He loved us so much that He died a horrible death to redeem us back from sin. 

How many times have you been told “God loves you” and you blew it off?  The love that we share with another soul on this planet pales in comparison to how He feels about you and me.  If we were the only one on this planet, He would have died for us.  He loves us that much.  LET Him love you. I was born and raised in a Christian home.  But it wasn’t until I went through Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” that I realized that I was not “letting” God love me.  I remember when the light bulb went off in my mind, I just cried.  I took the wall to my heart down.  It is a shame and totally about pride when you don’t think you are good enough. God hates pride.

Look at the intricate way you are put together.  Do you really think that happened by chance?  Look at creation and how it works together and has been going and keeps going every day.  The sun doesn’t move out of place.  We have just the right amount of oxygen in our atmosphere not to kill us.  Our God is an awesome God.  He is everywhere all at once. 

Have you ever sat and just studied a cat?  The way the fur grows, all of the colors, how some fur stops at a certain length, how their heads almost do a one-eighty degree turn, the sandpaper tongue…yet you will not find two exactly alike. You will never find two snowflakes alike or two leaves.  Have you ever seen a classroom full of kids draw? Nobody draws the same thing.  Each person is individually created and designed purposefully by God.  God has an amazing, indescribable, unfathomable imagination. 

Sometimes I think about all of the people since the beginning of time that have been created and wonder how He could love and want a relationship with that many people.  My finite mind cannot comprehend some of the great truths of Scripture. 

We see glimpses of God in everything on this earth.  He has given us emotions, just as He has, but only a taste.  We were not given a full dose because we cannot handle it.  One day when we are gone from earth and are living with the Lord, we’ll see everything in the spiritual realm as it truly is.  One TV commercial that comes to mind as an analogy is about an allergy medication.  The screen is not really clear.  It has a film over it.  When you take that medication, the film disappears and you see brilliant colors and everything so clearly.  Even the apostle Paul says that right now we see in a mirror dimly but one day we will see Him just as He is and we will be like Him. 

I spend a lot of time lost in thought pondering the Word and the wonder of God.  It is sometimes during those quiet moments that He gives me a glimpse of Himself.  I love it when He does that!  As a child of God, I think it is OK to overanalyze things.  God is very deep.  He said in His Word that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart.  Are you seeking God today?

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Obedience Equals Joy

Last week, in our latest Bible study, our facilitator encouraged us to journal through the study.    I don’t know about you, but personally, I do not like to hand-write.  If you are a lefty like me, you’ll understand.  It doesn’t matter what pen I pick up, I end up with a smeared page and ink on my hand.  The OCD part of me comes out and it drives me nuts.

Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Stepping Up” is a step-by-step journey to draw us closer to God.   Each day is an exciting experience and I don’t want to forget any of it (but I don’t want to write it down, either).  Can you see my dilemma? So, I’ve decided to journal it here.  Maybe some of you can relate to my experiences. 

One challenge we were given was to lie facedown and surrender to God every morning.  Yes, facedown on the floor.  At first, I thought, “How can this make a difference?  I pray every morning anyway.”  It only takes a few seconds and it feels awkward at first, but after last week, I relish it.  Yes, I’ve gotten up with animal fur stuck to my forehead or in cases when I’ve forgotten about my dog in the room, she’s licking my ear feverishly and whining wondering why I am on the ground like that. 

The body in an posture of surrender seems to make the heart and mind follow.  Let me share  something that happened last week with you.

We were getting low on groceries and didn’t have any money.  I knew at some point that I would be getting either some money or a stub for my property management fees, depending on whether they took out my dues or not for the month.  I prayed silently about that check and how much we needed groceries for the week.  I went to the mailbox Thursday and there was an envelope for me with what appeared to be a check in it.  My heart skipped a beat.  I prayed on the way to the house, “Lord, I’m scared to open it.”  But I thought whether it was $25 or $75, I would be grateful and get what we could with it.  Hands shaking, I opened the envelope and it was for $179.  I squealed and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!”  I was grinning from ear to ear! 

My daughter and I headed to WalMart and I got a front parking space (which is not easy!).  I whispered, “Thank you, Lord.”  I cashed my check and we got groceries.  I had a buggy full.  I got what we needed and checked out at $99.  I was estactic!  I grabbed $20 and put it in my pocket. I promised the Lord I was going to tithe off that money and I couldn’t wait until Sunday to be able to put it in the offering.  This time, I was not ashamed of how much I was putting in.  I realized that pride had been holding me back on tithing off my meager income.  Wondering what people were thinking about my small amount and if I was “tipping” God kept me in a state of pride and I didn’t want to be “embarrassed” so I didn’t tithe.  God was trying to show me the error of my ways.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I told Lindsay that if we obey God and keep his commands, He will bless us.  She, being in the attitudinal-teenage-phase, snapped back at me, “Mom, just because you do something wrong, doesn’t mean God is going to leave you.”  I patiently explained that I didn’t say that God was going to leave me.  I just said that He would not bless us if we continue to blatantly disobey Him.  We had allowed sin in our lives and God had given me the courage to speak up this week and to stop it.  His Word says that if we knowingly allow sin to continue and do not say anything, we are  equally guilty.  He will not honor or bless that.

Sunday morning rolled around and as usual, I had a mental battle as I got out of bed.  Having some physical ramifications from a surgery over ten years ago, I struggled with pain around 5am and tossed and turned until time to get up.  As I got ready for church, the mental temptations kept barraging me.  “You don’t need to be there. There are plenty of people singing this morning.”  “You need a break.”  “You can just go to church, skip Sunday School.”  On and on it went.  Even the high about tithing had gone away.  But I know, as most of you should, especially if you are a female, you cannot go by how you feel.  You should just do what you know is right and leave the consequences to God. 

After I woke up fully, had my shower and got my coffee, all the while steadily praying about what to wear (another female issue), I got it together and headed out the door. 

As I sang Sunday morning, I felt free.  Free to worship and praise the Lord without the burden of guilt, self-loathing and sin hanging on me.  I sang for Him. 

Obedience equals joy…!

Revelation

Our church recently started a new Beth Moore Bible study called “Stepping UP: A journey through the Psalms of Ascent.” When I first heard the title, I thought it sounded rather boring and I had planned to take another Bible study elsewhere.

God, obviously, had other plans. Sunday night I found myself in the study, hungering for a Word from the Master.

Something Beth said that I needed so badly hit me like a ton of bricks. “Insecurity and self-loathing are a form of PRIDE.” Wow! I have been insecure most of my life but lately since joining the praise team and singing in front of the church, that insecurity and self-loathing has just eaten me up.

What a revelation! What freedom! I thought that I was being humble. That is obviously NOT humility, according to the Word of the Lord.

What a difference between Sunday morning and Sunday night. Sunday morning, I could not get it together to save my life. Every time I moved the music stand, papers flew and I could not get off the platform fast enough for the pastor to begin preaching. I was invited out to eat but didn’t have any money so I politely declined and told them that I had to show property. I did show property, but it was later on. I could not get comfortable during the service to save my life. I cried all the way home. All I could think of was that I was a failure and I hated myself for it.

Sunday night, after hearing that Word, I felt so free. I can’t explain it. I am free to worship God and come before Him without shame. I bring what I can “to the table” and He will take care of the rest.

Monday night was our first praise team practice after Christmas holidays and I let go and sang and praised and worshipped God. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. I was so full of joy, inexpressible joy…that I felt like I was going to explode. I was feeling what Beth describes as “there ain’t no high like the Most High” and I did not want it to end.

As I’m sharing this, a thought occurred to me. Is that what Heaven is like? If so, I cannot wait to get there! What a rush!

I will say this with utmost certainty: God is NEVER boring. He gives us glimpses of Himself and peels back layers as we are ready and I look forward anxiously to His next revelation.

How many parties do you have?

Hunger turned into anger as I stomped through the house last night. No meat. No veggies. No eggs. Basically, nothing to cook. I was eating Ritz crackers and ready to cry. No money either. Finally, I thought of something we could eat: pancakes! We had some mix in the refrigerator. My son graciously cooked them for us and as I sat down to eat, he mentioned that he had the heat on a little to high. I didn’t care as I scarfed them down.

After eating, I glanced at the clock and realized that I was going to be late for our Wednesday night prayer meeting. I ran into the bedroom and quickly changed clothes, brushed my teeth and ran some gel through my hair. “This will have to do.” I thought.  “No make up.  I’m gonna be a scary sight tonight.  Oh well…” 

Driving to church, only ten minutes away, seemed to take forever and I felt like an elephant had sat on my heart.  It was heavy.  I fought tears. I prayed.  “Lord, we are drowning!” 

I came into the back of the chapel as they were singing the last song and was prepared to sit alone.  I wanted to be alone, to sulk, pout and have a pity party alone.  But, my friends saw me come in and called me to their table.  Darn! 

I sat down in that chair as tense as could be and as we sang, I again fought tears.  I took the words of the song, taken from Psalms 119, and put them to use.  “Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory…”   I was not in that church for me, I was there to glorify His name.  The tears that were welling inside, came to an abrupt halt and my spirit lifted as I sang to honor Him. The One who gave His life for mine.

After the message, prayer requests were lifted and our table talked about issues we had and I listened intently as I heard heartache after heartache lifted to God.  One woman was in a bad car accident on Christmas day and lost her daughter.  Another widow suffered in silence trying to raise five children alone in a drafty house without central heat and air. Others were grieving deaths.  Some facing surgery.  Wow…I didn’t say anything at all to my table last night and they noticed and asked if I was OK.  I nodded.  Yes, I am OK.  The Lord has me in the palm of His hand and nobody, nobody can take me out.

I have problems, yes, but not near as bad as others and I should be thanking God that I have a home, hot water, and a family to clean up after.  Instead there are days where I complain because of the mess they make or the house is drafty. 

I am more blessed than the richest person on this planet because I have Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I cannot imagine going through life without Him.  He is my Rock.

Oh, the coolest part of my day yesterday?  I met a woman through Facebook who lives in Kenya.  She is a Christian as well.  She sent me a text last night at 1am and mentioned that it was 8am there and wondered what time it was where I lived and how I was doing.  I met a sister in Christ that I will never see this side of eternity. But thanks to the God-given talents of those that invented technolgy that we have today, I have met her virtually.  I just love “meeting” new people. 

Instead of having pity parties, let’s pray for one another.  There is always somebody else worse off that we are at this moment.  We are so blessed. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Your loving care and watching over our lives.

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