Archive | Daily Living RSS feed for this section

Don’t You Fear God? Luke 23

30 Dec

Reading through Luke chapter 23 this morning, the words of the criminal crucified beside Christ struck me. He was speaking to the other criminal who hung on the far side of  Christ Jesus–the one who’d been hurling insults at Jesus.

“Don’t you fear God?” he said.  See Luke 23:40

Though the man hung on a cross next to Jesus, suffering and dying, he believed. He still feared God. Still dared to believe Jesus was the Messiah and there was a kingdom Christ would be ushered into, and there was a point to what was taking place.

I’m reminded of the lines in One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She wrote that she’d claimed the “yes” of believing God, but lived the no.

Don’t you fear God?

To fear God is to be reverent of His mighty authority and power. To recognize his infinite might alongside his infinite love.

Sometimes I sense we focus so heavily on the love and forgiveness, we fail the rightful dose of fear. Doesn’t the fear of God go hand and hand in the surrender to God? To whatever he brings?

The first verse of Job tells us he was a man who feared God and shunned evil. And don’t we think of Job as  synonymous with suffering?

Yes, Job suffered much loss, much anguish and grief. Yet, the second half of his life was more blessed than the first, than before the suffering. (See Job 42:12 – 17)

Job told his wife, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”  see Job 2:10

Lord, it’s hard. It’s scary. I’d rather fear you and have it go well all my days. But I fear you always. I choose to surrender to you in the good and in the trouble.

How to be a Disciple–Luke 14

20 Dec

To be a disciple, we must not be saltless salt. It’s useless. Why sprinkle it? Without taste, it goes unnoticed.

This is what struck me as I read through Luke 14. In the beginning of the chapter, Jesus ate and taught in a Pharisee’s home. Through parables, Jesus warns them:

  • Don’t take the best position for yourself
  • Don’t center yourself around people you view as important
  • Don’t think you have a standing invitation and your own priorities reign

All of these teachings warn against self-importance. 

The rest of the chapter, Jesus is teaching to crowds in his traveling about being His disciple:

  • No relationship more important
  • No financial limit
  • No resource untapped

Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure piles; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Luke 14: 34-35  NIV

Salt isn’t salt unless it’s salty.  Disciples aren’t disciples unless we’re discipley. 

Christ has given a definition of discipleship–not suggestions, but a view of what is required.

We use this common terminology of inviting Jesus into our hearts and then what? Too often we still have our own way with:

  • Our relationships
  • Our money
  • Our talents
  • Ourselves

The “our” must be surrendered. We must become “His.”

The mystery is we each have a unique identity in Christ when we surrender our own identities to Him. We think  of it as losing, but we are truly gaining.

We will not be useless. We will not go unnoticed when we become His.

Lord, open my eyes to see. Cause my hears to hear. Change my heart to be pure and chasing after you–as your disciple. Everything in my life is yours. Help me to live that way, attentive to your promptings and quick to follow.

The Most Wanted or A Change of Heart?

16 Dec

It’s happened again. A change of heart from the time the list is written to the last few days before gifts are opened.

The most wanted thing changes.

You tell me. What is the most wanted item on this list?

Sorry. You’re not up to speed. The “most wanted” has changed to Earth HQ.  

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  Luke 11:13  NIV”

The first portion of Luke 11 shows Jesus teaching the disciples to pray. What can we learn?

  • A model prayer (verses 1 – 4)
  • A parable encouraging persistence and boldness (verses 5 – 8 )
  • A declaration that if we ask, seek and know, we will receive, find and have it opened to us (verses 9 -10)
  • And the truth that God the Father gives in a superior way to any earthly father

But for what do we ask our heavenly Father to give? What does Jesus tell us He gives to those who ask?

The Holy Spirit.

How often do I pray boldly for the Holy Spirit to flood my thoughts? What does God see as most wanted when He looks upon my heart?

A. W. Tozer wrote in The Pursuit of God, “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls.”

Our most wanted item should be this further revelation of God. His Holy Spirit enters a believer. Not to be stagnant. To burn, to consume, to create change.  

Lord, continue to create a craving in my heart for more of You. Overcome my own thoughts with your Spirit’s leading. Create the change only your gift of wisdom, comfort and guidance can bring. Be my most wanted!

Where’d You Get That Line? – Choosing Meaningful and Real Words

2 Dec

“I wish I had a hundred fingers to count how much I missed you.” My nine-year-old shared what he planned to say to his grandma after school.

You see, their grandma, my mom-in-law, lives with us. But, she’s been away for 6 weeks after fighting off some major illness and building back strength.

Yesterday, she came home. (Welcome home, G’Ma!) As my sons left for school, I reminded them she’d be here when they returned.

So, I thought this 100 finger line was way too cute, quick, and clever to be his own saying. Plus, my boys like to quote such things as Phineas and Ferb. There’s a track record here for one-liners.

“That’s a sweet line, where are you quoting it from?” I asked.

He claimed it as his own. (Okay, actually he said, “From me, from my face.” Charming, huh?)

My ten-year-old then stepped in for some back up. “I can verify. I have never heard that anywhere.”

In that instant, the sweetness of the statement magnified about a kajillion times.

And it got me thinking. Thinking about how many churchy words and repeated phrases I sometimes use.

I know God doesn’t judge my prayers and loves to hear from me. But I sense His presence so much more when my words are fresh and specific to that day’s situation, voiced in my personality.

This is something I encourage with my kids, reminding them not to say the same thing to God every day. You wouldn’t do that to a friend at school. You talk about what’s happening today.

It also reminded me of one of my favorite King of Queen’s episodes. The one where Carrie finds out Doug quoted a movie with BJ McKay and a monkey–or something equally as flattering– when he proposed to her. If you ever watched the show, you know how Carrie responded.

I don’t want to treat my King in a way that’s any less than my most sincere. It’s about constantly checking my heart.

I also don’t want to use churchy language to convey to my children how fabulous and real Jesus is. I’m not putting down church, love church. And I want my kids to know Biblical language and truth.

But I also carefully choose everyday language they have comparison and understanding for to convey how present and active Christ  is in our lives. After all, Jesus taught this way, right? Common day comparisons the people understood such as wine skins, seeds, sheep.)

I’ll still use my favorite scripture and words. But, I’ll also be watchful that I don’t just use routine words, trying every time to keep my heart personal to Him.

When do you experience the most genuine conversations with God?

How do you model and encourage it with your children?

Candy, Cash or Christ – How can we build spiritual appetites?

29 Nov

If you stood in a room full of kids and announced you had a prize for anyone who could hop on one foot for 30 seconds, what do you picture happening next?

Probably a room with shaking walls from all the bouncing, and children falling over one another.

Undoubtedly, some kid would scream out, “Is it candy?”

Thank goodness we outgrow this behavior. Well, at least some of you probably have.

Now picture standing in an auditorium of adults and calling out, “Loads of cash and buffet tables, just down the hall. First come, first serve. No limits.”

Perhaps everyone would look around like, “Yeah, right. Too good to be true….What’s the catch?”

Cynicysm, or let’s call it realism, does seem to come with age.

But if a few bold folks decided to go check it out, a stampede would ensue. What if it is true? What if they get it all?

Psalm 19:9-11 (NIV)

9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
   enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
   and all of them are righteous.

 10 They are more precious than gold,
   than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
   than honey from the honeycomb.

11 By them your servant is warned;
   in keeping them there is great reward.

Respect of God.  Knowledge of His word. These are more desireable than gold.

His decrees bring more sweetness to life than honey.

Not that God’s Word should be more desireable, but that it is; whether we realize it or not. 

Verse 11 says His word illuminates His servant, and brings a great reward.

As adults, we try to curb our natural desire for foods that are unhealthy.

But, money? Another story. It’s a necessity after all.

Yet the temptation to crave more than we need has us acting much like children with a sack full of halloween candy. I’m as guilty as anyone.

How can we invite more of God’s illuminating word into our lives?  Are we as willing to do it as a kid hopping on one foot for candy?

How can we foster our children viewing God’s Word as desireable?

For me, praying for desire for God’s Word has transformed my life. And having my kids walk in on me in the midst of Bible reading or prayer has taught them more than any direct instruction I’ve ever given.

Leave a comment. What are you doing to grow your own appetite, or encourage that of your children?

Keeping Christ in Christmas – Practical Family Ideas

25 Nov
I’ve got a plan for keeping Christ in Christmas this year. And as I watch the news this morning, I’m convinced I need one. Just hours ago reporters shared touching stories of thankfulness. The clock struck midnight and poof! The footage morphed into crazed shoppers using pepper spray. Welcome to Black Friday.
So today, I’m thinking of ways to keep the attitude of gratitude going, way of being intentional to make our home’s Christmas about God’s lavish love that sent Christ to this world as a babe.
Here’s a beginning list of what I’m doing.
1. Making an advent calendar. This is my first time, here’s a great link  with instructions. I’m not following all the daily activities suggested (life is busy enough at our house). But, I’m thinking of every weekend putting a fun thing on a date card. And, I’m using the calendar in conjunction with the next item on my list. So I think I’ll put a family member’s name on each date to signify they’re in charge of reading the scripture from that day’s devotion.)
2. Reading a family devotional each day. We’re starting on Dec 1st . I’m using the free download by Ann Voskamp and Nancy Rodden (click here to read a sample and get your copy). 
3. Creating “Gifts of Gratitude.”  I’m putting a large, decorated jar out in the kitchen and challenging my family to write on provided strips of green and red paper any specific thing about a family member they appreciate. Something like, “Quinn, I love reading with you at night, taking turns reading a page at a time.” Or, “Randy, watching you toss the football out back with the boys makes me smile.”  You get the idea. We’ll do this from December 1 – December 24. The evening of Christmas Eve, we’ll read them together over cocoa and festive treats.
Let’s help each other make it a joyful Christmas that stands apart. 
It’s not gonna be easy folks. Everywhere we go, we’re pulled into other versions of the season. Things I’m not against by any means, but I don’t want them to engulf the joy the angels first came and sang about to the shepherds. I don’t want the shine of lights from our decor to compete with the bright star pointing to the Messiah.
What are you’re doing?  Post a comment with an idea. Or, if you have a blog entry that details a way to keep Christmas, include a shortlink for us. 

Same Thing, Just Different

15 Nov

There’s a saying in my family, created by my Daddy. Okay, so he invented many sayings in our home, but the one I’m thinking of today is, “Same thing, just different.” It’s one of my personal favorites. Both my husband and I have used it in our own household on many occasions over the years, particularly when the kids were splitting hairs on an issue. Now, they, too, pipe in with the phrase sometimes. I’m thinking of making some t-shirts to sell.  

Earlier this week on the blog for girls, we began a study on the names/descriptions of Jesus found in the gospel of John. The first name is Word. (See John 1:1-2, John 1:14 and Rev 19:13). In these verses, the original Greek is “logos” which can be described as the entirety of God’s declaration. I think of it as all encompassing.

But, the Greeks had lots of words which we often translate into the same English word.  One example is the “word” Jesus quoted  (originally from Deuteronomy) during his temptation by the devil in the desert.

“…Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”  (Matthew 4:4 NIV).

The original Greek for “word” Jesus spoke in the desert is not logos but “rhema.” Vines defines it as an utterance, a speech, a discourse. I think of it as a specific utterance rather than the entirety of God’s word.

Obviously, God’s word is his word, whether it be a smaller passage or the scriptures as a whole.  

So why are the original words different in the Greek?

Have you ever been in a desperate place, with a terrific need for a specific word of encouragement or hope from God? Something that would keep you going?

You had faith. You knew Christ as your Saviour, yet you needed something specific to get through a storm?

That’s rhema. We live on the very word of God. We need it daily, in digestible pieces. It sustains us, grows us. We don’t need only the knowledge of the gospel and the salvation Christ offers for the end of our lives, we need the Word to live — day by day. 

So, my favorite Daddy phrase applies. “Same thing, just different” — and all good!

%d bloggers like this: