Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘Scripture’

God Speaks

God does speak to His children.  You just have to be tuned in to hear Him. This week was an interesting, awe-inspiring event for me.  It doesn’t take much as you’ll see in a minute.  🙂

My son is having a difficult time at work because he wants to be doing something that isn’t available right now and he called to talk to me about it.  My heart went out to him because I’ve “been there, done that…got the T-shirt.”  So I began to pray for him. I prayed that the Lord would calm him and give him patience to stick it out until the right thing comes along. 

The next morning, I’m doing my devotions and it’s about David.  The “Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed” series features Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur.  I’m into Priscilla’s lesson on “Anointed and Disappointed” and the whole time I’m reading it thinking about my son.  So I stopped and sent him a text about David and how he was anointed at the young age of 15 but didn’t actually take the throne and rule over Israel for another 22 years.  In the meantime, he tended sheep, played a harp for King Saul and took food to his brothers who were engaged in battle.  Those were menial, boring jobs. He did it anyway.  God used all He put David through to make him the greatest king Israel ever knew…the man after God’s own heart.

I told him to be patient. Your time will come when it’s right.

I got a text back a couple of hours later from him that just said, “That’s weird.”

I sent a text back with….”why’s that weird?”   No response.

So, I went over to his house after work with a copy of the study. He had to read that lesson. It just screamed at me the whole time that he needed it.

He finally explained to me that after I talked to him, he kept “hearing” “David, David, David, David” whispered in his spirit and then I sent that text the next day about the same thing.

I love it when God does that.  It’s so awesome that THE CREATOR of the Universe wants to have a relationship with me and you!

God speaks in so many ways.  Through others sharing His word, His word directly, the Holy Spirit living inside, Bible studies, and even Christian music. We just have to learn to discern that Voice.  If it is jumping off the page at you, He’s speaking to you.

Oh yes, God speaks.  Are you listening?

Broken

I remember reading Patsy Clairmont’s title of a book she wrote, “God Uses Cracked Pots” and smiling.  Indeed He does.

My life has been anything but perfect. From financial screw-ups to depression, food addiction and celebrity idolatry, I’ve run the gamut of blunders and created some of my own mayhem. But God’s grace got me through it all.

I like to peruse the comments on our local newspaper’s website.  Some of them get pretty nasty toward one another, especially if anything in the arena of religion gets brought up.  You wouldn’t think it would be that way in the “Bible belt” but it does.  I read one comment from someone who said they couldn’t believe in a God who was manipulative and conniving and allowed all of that (murder, adultery, etc) to go on.  It kind of stunned me and I couldn’t think of a response at that moment.

But I began to think about it and chew on it a while. What would I say to something like that?

I thank God for all of the people’s lives He chose to share with us in Scripture.  We got a “birds-eye” view of their lives and screw ups yet God chose to forgive them and use them anyway for His honor and glory. Who would want a Bible full of perfect people??  We couldn’t live up to that if we tried. We can relate to almost every one of those in some form or fashion and still we see the grace and mercy of God.

Joseph was a favorite child. What did that get him?  Jealous brothers who sold him into slavery then lied to their father about what happened to him.  God used that to save His people from starvation.  Joseph ended up being the grand vizier or prime minister, if you will, of Egypt.

David, a man after God’s own heart, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got tempted into adultery and then murder.  God was gracious and didn’t take the throne away from him and still used him mightily.  He and Bathsheba went on to have Solomon, the wisest king that ever lived.

We are born into a fallen world. This world, temporarily, is Satan’s dominion. We were given a free will. God knows how we are going to use that before we even do. He has placed us where we are in this time and location for a purpose.  If we were at the hands of a “master puppeteer” who was manipulative and conniving, who would be able to stand? Wouldn’t He then just kill us off if we screwed up?

No.

We don’t see the bigger picture like God does. I am glad He is sovereign and knows what is best for us.  If we allow Him to, he can use us broken people.  People who think they know it all, don’t want God. They don’t  think they need Him.  What they believe is the biggest lie Satan ever told.

I serve a gracious, merciful, loving, kind, just God. He is ever powerful and He is everywhere. He is everything I will ever need.

I heard this analogy once and I love it.  A baby is all nice and warm and comfy in the womb. It’s dark. It’s toasty.  Then they are born into the light, cold, noisy world.  The 9 months they live in that womb is temporary. They are being prepared for the real world, the one we live in now.

We are in the “womb,” so to speak.  Our life on this planet is short and temporary. What we see, hear, smell, taste and touch is not going to last. When we die, that’s when real life begins. The Bible teaches “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”  Those who are believers in Christ, will spend eternity with Him in love, no pain, no sorrow, no brokenness, no sin. All perfect.  Those without Christ will spend in eternal darkness in a place prepared for Satan and his angels away from God in pain, in sorrow…forever and ever and ever and ever.

His message is simple: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from sin and eternal separation from God.

What choice are you going to make?

 

Whiter Than Snow

Remember singing that song in church? “Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Jesus can wash me whiter than snow.”

I always wondered what that meant. I mean, after all, snow is white. How can you get whiter?? God showed me last week when we got an unusual snowfall here in the deep south. The beautiful, large white snowflakes fell against the dark of night and left us with about 2 inches of snow on the ground. It was gorgeous and delightful since we haven’t had a snowfall like that since 1989.

As I glanced across the yards in the light of day and saw the snow-covered lawns, it dawned on me what that song meant. Snow blankets everything including dirt and causes it to be white and clean-looking. That’s how Jesus’ blood covers us. Our dirt is covered and made clean in God’s eyes because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary.

I love it that God gives us analogies in nature to understand some of His greatest truths, don’t you?

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?

Where is God??

As I’m drinking my morning coffee, my dog is lying next to me snoring, jerking and twitching.  I glance over and wonder what she’s dreaming about.  I turn back to my laptop and sigh.  My heart is heavy.   It’s two weeks from Christmas and I don’t even know where I will get grocery money, much less Christmas presents.  I have a tree only because a friend of mine had extras and loaned me one so I could at least decorate.

I have applied for jobs on Craig’s List (which are all scams, by the way).  I have been searching and applying on legitimate sites regularly for the past year or so.  The job marked is so saturated.  I’ve had maybe 3 interviews, all of which didn’t pan out.  Real Estate is all but dead.  Mary Kay sales are few and far between.  My husband is on salary, so he can’t pick up overtime.  Again, sighing, I am trying not to cry.

You know, Christmas just keeps reminding me of how broke we really are.  My daughter stopped me in the hall the other day and says, “Mom, I know what I want for Christmas. Another blanket and lots of candy.”  My heart sank.  Where was I even going to get money for that?  For a teenager, that is a very small request.  I would love to be able to do that for her. 

We just wrapped up our three night production of our Christmas dinner theater at church and it was so much fun.  Every night was something different, whether it was forgotten lines or comedic relief from the impromptu acting of one of our Sunday School teachers. 

It seems like every devotional I read or sermon I hear is how God is always there, working on our behalf, whether we see Him or not.  I know He is trying to tell me this and deep down, I know this very well. 

But yet, I can’t help but be hurt and frustrated at this situation.  I don’t know what’s going on in the spiritual realm.  He doesn’t afford me that luxury.  Is He trying to get my attention?  He already has that.  What if He’s trying to get the attention of another one of my family members?  What if it has nothing to do with us? When will this be over?  When will He show up and “save the day?”  Or will He show up at all?  Why won’t He open a door for me to get a job? And on and on the questions go….

I know He never promised that this life would be easy.  We live in a fallen world.  Life will only be perfect on the other side of eternity. 

You know what I love? I love to read the Psalms. The psalmist was blatantly honest with God. He poured out his heart. God didn’t strike him dead.  Instead, God longs for us to be honest with Him. He knows what we are feeling anyway. Maybe He’s trying to get me to be that honest.  More often than not, I bottle up my feelings and suck it up and go on.  Or like yesterday, lay down to take a nap just hoping that when I awake, I will not be so broken hearted. That usually works—temporarily.  Or I’ll eat chocolate. It’s soothing to the palate, yet not so much when I look in the mirror.

We can’t hide from pain, no matter how hard we try.  I guess that’s why so many people end up alcoholics or drug addicts. 

You know, I guess that is why one of Jesus’ names in Scripture was the “Balm of Gilead.”  He soothes our broken hearts. He puts salve on our wounds. He is Wonderful, Counselor and Prince of Peace.

Where is God in all of this?  He’s here. He’s carrying us through the tough times. He’s loving us in spite of ourselves and our brokenness. He’s working on our behalf, whether we see it or not.  Romans 8:28 states that “He CAUSES all things to work together for good.”  You can’t “cause” something without being active. Think on that.

In the Flight Path of Geese

It’s cold and rainy outside and a Saturday at that.  I awoke early this morning and an inaudible voice compelled, “Meet with Me.”  I somewhat wanted to but started to argue, “I’ll pray when I lay back down” knowing full well that I would fall back asleep before I got a few lines out.  It’s too early. But it will be quiet. You won’t regret it. Why am I arguing with myself about meeting with God?  He delights in me, says the Psalmist. He wants to spend time together…alone – without all of the family, animals, TV, phones, and computers. The God who created the universe wants to meet with me.

So, I stumbled down the hall and into the kitchen, gave the dog her morning treat and ushered her out the door. The cats ambled up wanting their treats as well so I obliged them.  As they munched and purred, I pulled the coffee out of the cabinet and put on a pot.  I opened the blinds and the gray day met my eyes. This is a day for reading, snuggling by a fire or sleeping, I thought.  According to the weather, it is supposed to rain all day.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the coffee is ready. I pour myself a cup, put some french vanilla creamer in it and sit down on the sofa.  I opened my laptop to glance at my email to make sure nothing urgent needed attention, closed it and grabbed my Bible off the end table. 

I have three different devotionals so I usually read one that is just for women/mothers and gain some encouragement. Then I will pick up another to have a starting point in Scripture.  More often than not, I’ll read more than the passage required because I am getting so much out of it.

The back door was still open as I began to read and then I heard them.  There is a huge gaggle of Canadian Geese that live down the street in our neighborhood pond.  Every morning they fly over the house headed out to wherever they go for the day.  Each evening, they come back.  Sometimes there are three different sets that fly over.  These birds are amazing to watch, even if it is in brief. The “V” formation they fly in and their squawking gets my attention every time.  This morning, I didn’t see them but heard them as they chatted noisily amongst themselves and flew over my house.  I smiled.  God created these gorgeous creatures and I never tire of hearing them or seeing them.  They always put me in awe of my Creator.   God knows that I love them and He woke me up early to meet with Him and to enjoy His creation, as He does. 

We read in Scripture that God loves us.  But it never occurred to me until hearing Beth Moore this week that God is kind to us.  He actually wants to be nice to us.  For some reason, that brings God into a whole different light in my mind.  I will never completely fathom all that we mean to Him.  I am still trying to comprehend why He delights in us. 

Being in the flight path of the geese may not mean anything to you, but it means a lot to me.  It is a gentle reminder of the gracious kindness of a loving God and that He is in control.  Even if bad things come our way, He reminds us that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord. There is a reason, a purpose for everything. Including you.

Does it really say that??

I grew up in church and Sunday school and was in a Christian school all of my life.  My parents ensured that I was there every time the doors were open.  One would think that I was totally grounded in the Word and in my faith.  Not necessarily so.

I was in the legalistic generation of the seventies and by the time I graduated high school in 1983, I wanted out of that environment.  It took me two years to figure out who I really was and what I believed.  Of course, I was a believer in Christ…of that much, I was certain.  The rest was a gray area.  I wanted to know what other churches did and why.  I was hungry for truth and not man-made laws (no movies, no pants on women, if it was fun—it was sin, etc.) 

It wasn’t until I took a “Precepts” class at church one year that I began to see how deep the Scriptures were and that every period and comma were there intentionally.  My hunger for the Word increased and I bought a study Bible.  I read it through for the first time in my life.  I wanted to see what God’s Word said for myself.  I figured if I died and went to Heaven, Jesus would probably wonder why I never read His love letter to us.  I didn’t really stop and study it but wanted to read it.  Things I didn’t understand, I went to online commentaries.  I think I read it in about four months.  I had to keep running my family out of my bedroom so I could read.  Satan used every interruption in the book to try to get me to stop, including my kids rolling their eyes at me because they “needed” me.  Not really.  They don’t bother me if I’m sitting in front of the TV or on the computer.  But if I’m trying to get closer to the Lord by reading or studying, they are all over me. 

After studying a few “Precepts” with Kay Arthur, I was introduced to Beth Moore studies by a friend and I have been soaking them up as much as I can.  I’ve learned so much in the last year.  It is amazing how God will peel back layer after layer of Himself as He knows you are ready to handle deeper truths. 

One verse that I have often quoted was Psalms 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”    I have read it as “delight in the Lord and He will give you what you really want.”  That’s not what it says.  We often misinterpret Scripture because we do not truly read it as it says and allow the Holy Spirit to show it’s true meaning.  I did not catch how I had been reading it until Dr. Charles Stanley said something one day about that verse and it hit me like a brick wall. 

It literally says to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  HE will give you proper desires, not sinful ones.  The desire of our heart should be to please Him in all our ways.  He will purge our old desires and replace them with ones that please Him.  His purpose for us is to make us more like Christ.  Our human nature has to die first.  The more we read Scripture and take it word by word and let Scripture interpret Scripture, then we are on the right path to understanding Him and what He wants for us.

Don’t ever think that you will figure God out.  He’s too multi-faceted and deep for that.  Even King David couldn’t figure Him out.   But, really….do you want to?  I mean, think about how boring of a god we would have if we could figure him out. If we could figure him out, he wouldn’t be God.  I like that He keeps me wondering and pondering and searching.  He reveals something new everytime and it delights my soul. Only He can satisfy us like that.  Only He can fill that void inside of you.  Only He can bring pure joy.

Be blessed in the Lord!

Sheila

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