Tag Archives: christian living

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!

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When We Cannot Do What God Asks

13 Dec

Does God ever ask you to do something you cannot do?

I’m still reading Luke alongside Mom’s Toolbox and it’s been fabulous.

Over the weekend, I read Luke 6. I was reminded of a recent Sunday School lesson and something one of my friends pointed out in this chapter.

Jesus told the man with the shriveled hand–“Stretch out your hand.”  See Luke 6:10

The man shouldn’t have been able to do what Jesus asked. Yet, he did it.

How? Jesus provided the power.

Diseases were being cured and evil spirits cast out, “and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.”  Luke 6:19

In verses 27 – 36, Jesus gives all of us instructions which on our own, we cannot do. Truth is, we often do not want to.

  • Love your enemies
  • Do good to those who curse you
  • Pray for those who mistreat you
  • Turn the other cheek
  • Give more than what someone takes from you
  • Give without expecting repayment

Without Jesus providing the power and strength, how can we do these things God asks of us? We cannot.

Lord, please give me a heart that longs to do what you ask. Remind me to pray and ask for the desire and obedience you provide to do what you ask. Thrill me with your pleasure and joy as you grow me in my walk with you.

Are Questions Okay, God?

6 Dec

Do you ask God questions? Is it okay to ask God questions?

I’m joining Mom’s Toolbox and reading the gospel of Luke for the remainder of December. (Why not join us? If you blog, grab the button from her site and include it on your own blog.)

Yesterday was the first day of reading and focused on Luke 1:1 – 38. I try to never read a passage without praying first and asking the Holy Spirit to teach me something. Here’s what I got after observing the passages yesterday. Luke with MomsToolbox

First the similarities.

Gabriel, the angel, visited both Zechariah and Mary. He brought news of a baby to be born to each of them. (John the Baptist to Zechariah and Jesus to Mary.)

Both were astonished at the news and both had questions.

Now for the differences.

Zechariah asked, “How can I be sure of this.” We are both so OLD!

Mary asked, “How will this be since I’m a  VIRGIN.”

Zechariah had doubt. Mary had wonder.

Gabriel answered both of them, but Zechariah received a consequence for his doubt. He’d be unable to speak until the child (John the Baptist) was born. Zechariah still received the son Gabriel told him about. John the Baptist still did all God had announced he would do.

Mary, on the other hand, received her answer explaining that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and do the work. Then, Mary received a word of encouragement that her relative, Elizabeth (Zechariah’s wife), would also be having a child.

What I see here is a heart difference. God accepts doubt and questions from us, we can see this from Gabriel’s interactions with those questions. But, our heart condition with those questions matters.

God, thank you for knowing we don’t understand everything You do and say. Thank you for your loving patience, forgiveness, and faithfulness. Grow us up in faith and salvation so we can believe and stay eager to be your servant through any of the hard questions in our lives.

Nothing is impossible with God  Luke 1:37 (NIV)

What’s something that seemed impossible, which God’s accomplished in your life?

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?

Do You Avoid Bumps?

4 Nov
A few years ago, my middle child said, “Mommy, do you know how I walk with my eyes closed and still get there?”
He squeezed his eyes shut and gave a play-by-play demonstration.  “I head in that direction -even though I can’t see it – and just bump into things until I get there!”   His voice and smile showed nothing but sheer delight.
Are you willing to be okay with the bumps as you move?
Growth requires movement.  You may not be sure where you are heading exactly.  It may be necessary to bump, adjust, bump adjust.  Without that, you stand still instead of moving where it is you feel compelled to go.
If your destination feels uncertain, but the urge to get moving is strong, be willing to hit the bumps and keep on adjusting. Be willing to move even before you can see the final destination.
Consider this.  You can be caught up in the same place, doing the same things, knowing you are meant to do more.  Or, you can forge a new, unknown exploration, trusting God to transform you along the way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

For we live by faith, not by sight.

I’m moving, bumps and all.

What’s Your Mile Marker?

25 Oct
Sharing my journey from Good Girl to God’s Girl has me celebrating. And what a thing that is, as many of my loved ones are sick and battling serious situations today. 
A heart that’s able to be joyful in my relationship with God while pouring out the prayers of great need for my loved ones — all at the same time– that’s what turning myself over to Him has done. Let’s keep going, Lord!
A heart in transition; that’s what I want to share with you today. This is a poem from my journal. It’s a mile marker to me as I reflect on it now, a marker of how God began to empty my heart of the old stuff and transform it into a pure heart for Him. It’s a daily process by the way. 
Here’s my journal entry as I wrote it,  back when I first started this journey. A journey of becoming fully and purposefully His instead of routinely His.

 Lord, Be Exalted in My Heart 

God, I believe in who you are
Shaper of moon, earth and stars
Show me how and where to start
So you can rule inside my heart

 

Jesus, You saved me from eternal death
This earth won’t hold my last true breath
To work and play and church I go
Your hymns, commands, and truths I know
 
But God, my prayers are so routine
My do’s and don’ts can’t make me clean
What good comes from this outward game
If in my heart, I’m still the same
 
I try so hard to do what’s right
Performing, working, holding tight
But in my heart You do not see
Yourself exalted, only me
 
Wanting purpose and security
To be known and feel free
I think that now I finally see
I must search for You, not for me
 
At last to find all that I need
Your plan holds my identity
Only faith counts as righteousness
This, my Lord, You will bless
 
Your words are life, Your works are great
On You alone, my Lord, I wait
You are the God of the patriarchs
Lord, be exalted in my heart

Get Real or Stay Stuck – Series Post #4

21 Oct
Know how when you’re on a diet–ahem, or making a lifestyle change–you’re often advised to list everything you eat? It makes you get real about what you are putting into your body.
My food journal often looks great the first half of the day. Boiled egg whites, whole wheat bread, grapefuit. Perhaps there’s grilled chicken over salad or tuna at lunch. Early afternoon snack is  an apple and light cheesestick. 
But, around 4:00 o’clock, things often take a turn. And the food journal stays incomplete the rest of the day.     Who wants to put they ate 3 cookies and a stack of Pringles in their diet log?
A food journal also shows you what you aren’t eating. Enough fruits, veggies, fiber — the good stuff.
On my good girl to God’s girl journey, I had to get real about my diet. Eating great on Sunday morning church and being spoon-fed on a weekday morning study group was about like my food log. I wasn’t getting anywhere, my spiritual diet had me stuck in the same place for years.
This is when I got real and prayed to God. “Make me want to read your word on my own. Make it jump off the page at me, teach me what you want me to learn, show me what you want me to see. Give me a craving for it!”
Maturity requires a healthy diet. Maturity brings rewards and responsibilities
Take a few minutes to read this great blog post by Waylon Bailey, a pastor in Louisiana.  What’s your diet missing?
http://waylonbailey.com/2011/08/a-checklist-for-taking-the-next-step/

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