Archive | August 2013

The To Do List


Photo by Courtney Dirks courtesy of Flickr

My husband used to like to have a to do list of the things I wanted him to do. I would get so frustrated, because I just wanted him to know what needed to be done. It took me a while to realize he just liked to have the list so he wasn’t wasting time doing things that weren’t important to me. Over time he learned certain things were more important than others and he began doing them without being asked. He no longer performed out of obligation, but out of a desire to help and show his love for me in practical ways.

That’s a lot like our relationship with God. He gave us His word as a sort of to do list. It’s not so we get wrapped up in checking things off our list, but so we know where to start. He’s interested in our heart attitude rather than getting all of our check marks. He wants us to seek a relationship with Him and make it the top priority of our day.

This will look different for each one of us because we are all unique and all have different circumstances. We may need to start with a plan to study His Word and pray for thirty minutes a day or it may mean writing down a different scripture each week and meditating on it for that week. If we continue with this habit it will soon become more than something we do every day. It will become something we look forward to each day. We will begin to find ways to carve out more and more time to be with Him. We will miss it when we skip it. There will be an emptiness we can’t deny.

I spent a long time waiting to get my ducks in a row before I could study the Bible. One day I realized He just wanted me to start!

God doesn’t expect us to have it all together before we come to Him; He just wants us to seek Him with our whole heart. When we come with the right attitude, He promises to reward our efforts.

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.”

1 Chronicles 28:9 (ESV) ” And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.”

Are you seeking God today? Do you trust Him to reward your efforts?

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This entry was posted on August 28, 2013. 4 Comments

Desired Outcomes

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Photo by iTopher from Flickr

 

Lately, I’ve been frustrated with what has seemed like a lack of growth.

All roads seem to point to dead ends.

I thought I would be so much further along on my journey by now.

I’ve felt distant. Distant from God, my family, my friends and the people I’ve been reaching out to help.

Last night going to the jail was the last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like going. It seems to have no real impact. We have such a short time with these women to tell them they are loved, they matter and God cares about what they’re going through.

We can’t fix them, which is what I long to do. We come and share what God has laid on our hearts and then He does the rest, but they get to choose to respond or not. That’s the difficult part, watching them choose something different.

It got me thinking how patient God is. He has given all of us chance after chance and how many have we wasted.

It really shows me I’m no different from these women in front of me.

How many times has God gotten me out of my pit and put me on solid ground only to have me smile and say, “Thanks God, I can handle it from here.”?

How long has he suffered through my pity party, just waiting for me to wake up and see how He has blessed me?

How many times has He opened one door and watched me struggle to open the door He’s closed?

How many times has He silently listened to me blame Him for the circumstances in my life?

Last night, these women touched my heart and I felt a new kinship with them. We have much more in common than I ever would admit before. I left knowing I’m right where God wants me to be and that’s what matters. The outcome is His and not for me to know.

Today, I’m thankful my Heavenly Father chooses to love me despite how I respond to Him. I’m loved the same every day, whether I feel it or not…whether I think I deserve it or not.

Who can you relate to today? Do you know you’re loved just as you are?

This entry was posted on August 21, 2013. 4 Comments

Mistaken Identity


This week I’ve been really seeking to know God as my father. My earthly father taught me about God and made sure our family went to church every Sunday. He made many mistakes in his life, but had it not been for him I would not have had a foundation in God at an early age.

It seems strange God would use the man who abused me to reveal Himself to me. The enemy tried to use him to destroy me, but God had a plan.

The enemy tried to steal my identity through the abuse of my childhood. He is the identity thief.

In Luke chapter four we see that each time he tempted Jesus, he started off questioning his identity.

Luke 4:3-13

3  And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.'”

5  And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

6 And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

7 “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”

8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'”

9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;

10 for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’

11 and, ‘ON THEIR HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'”

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR God to the test.'”

13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

The enemy stirs us to question our identity through thoughts, circumstances and other people.

Each time the devil questioned Jesus’ identity, he responded with God’s truth. This is how we deal with the doubts we encounter each and every day.

We are Children of God who’ve been given the power to defeat the enemy and his lies.

Ephesians 6:10-17 is a powerful weapon of truth in our arsenal.

This passage talks about the Armor of God.

It reminds us we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood but the enemy himself.

It tells us to take up the full armor of God.

We actively prepare to fight against the Identity Thief!

What lies have you believed? Are you ready to take back your identity?

This entry was posted on August 14, 2013. 2 Comments

Does God Qualify Our Pain?


photo by Tatarize via Flickr

 

Have you heard someone minimize their pain? They say “I know I’m not the only one, or others have it so much worse”.

God is our Heavenly Father. If you’re a parent, you have some understanding of the way God works. If your child fell and skinned their knee, would you say “At least you still have your leg, some people don’t have legs.”?

You would comfort them, not compare their pain to someone else.

When we start comparing our pain to others we miss the point. Comparing ourselves to others doesn’t take our pain away.

Nick Vujicic was the Australian man born without limbs. Few could say they’ve had more difficult obstacles to overcome. Yet, he shares his feelings on this subject through this quote.

“We can’t, and we should not, compare sufferings. We come together as a family of God, hand in hand. And then together coming and standing upon the promises of God, knowing that no matter who you are, no matter what you’re going through, that God knows it, He is with you, He is going to pull you through.”
Nick Vujicic

He’s telling us to take our pain to The Healer and find freedom. David did this throughout the Psalms. When we receive healing we are able to let go of our pain and allow God to use our story to encourage others.

Just like physical pain, if we ignore emotional pain, it doesn’t go away. It gets worse. We can bury it deep within, but it usually comes back with a vengeance. It becomes infected and we risk losing more by denying and minimizing our pain. We can lose relationships, intimacy with God and years of our lives to bitterness.

For years I remained stuck in the pain over my childhood abuse because I chose to deny and minimize it. Comparing myself to others only kept me locked in pain. When I finally chose to face the pain, there were those in my midst who said hurtful things like “You should have gotten over that years ago.”

God has since given me the revelation these people meant well, but at the time it only caused more shame…shame for waiting so long, shame for making a big deal out of my pain and shame for feeling the pain at all.

As painful as it was, it taught me not to minimize others pain. God showed me how to have compassion for others pain, not qualify it against mine or anyone else’s.

There is no shortage of pain in our world. It’s easy to look around and compare ours or someone else’s pain with another. Spreading shame is not the answer. Compassion for others is the answer.

Jesus modeled compassion for us. He didn’t qualify people’s pain; He healed them. He didn’t shame them, but He didn’t enable them to stay stuck either. He showed them freedom by dealing with the pain.

It’s our choice to allow God to heal it or hold onto it. Being real about our pain is the first step and then we face it with God’s help to receive healing. Then a testimony is born and others benefit from our healing.

Are you ready to face your pain and receive healing today? Please share so that I and others can lift you in prayer.

This entry was posted on August 6, 2013. 2 Comments