Tag Archives: LORD

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?

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Damaging Detour – “Good Girl” Series Post 3

18 Oct
Welcome back to post #3 from the “Good Girl to God’s Girl” series.
Last time I shared my mantra, “Being Right Is Not Who I Am.” 
God had revealed my true condition:  Much of my identity was rooted in myself, in what I did or didn’t do. That’d been my main problem.
Think of it this way. Even within the heart of a true believer, vast detours can take place.
Self-centered living drives the Good Girl.
Christ-centered living drives God’s Girl.
So how could I do the 180 degree turn and shift my thoughts and heart away from self and to my God?
I couldn’t. But God could.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

The first thing I needed to do was pray to God and admit the pride in my heart, and ask for His forgiveness and His renewal.
Here are some personal notes from my journal during that time.
God, you can see my good motives and genuine care for people. But, you can also see my selfishness, the laziness in my approach to you. My desire to be in control and produce immediate results. I believe you created me with special care, giving me abilities to be used for your kingdom. I do not want to lose you in the middle of obedient routines. I believe you can teach me and show me how to be fulfilled and submitted all at the same time. Only you have what I need.
Another key verse became my earnest prayer.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting  Psalm 139: 23 – 24  (NIV).

What might God reveal to you about your own identity? We can always go further, releasing more of us to be filled with more of Him.
Leave a comment, what’s one thing you sense God asking you to let go of to move closer in relationship to Him?

Who is the Mean Ballerina?

16 Sep

I’ve had to answer several questions this week after people received email messages from me signed by “The Mean Ballerina.”

First, I don’t look anything like a ballerina. Second, am I mean? Well, that point might not be as absolute.

Here’s the story.

My husband thought it’d be funny to edit the message my Blackberry tags onto any emails it sends. Rather than reading, “Sent via Blackberry,” he edited the line to read, “The Mean Ballerina.”

I got one foot in the door on Sunday morning when someone said, “Hey, I’ve got a question for you….”

“I know what it is.” The night before I’d remembered using my phone to ‘reply to all’ on a large church email.

“Okay then, tell me.” He raised his coffe cup to his lips.

“Mean Ballerina,right?”

He nods.

“It was my self-coined CB handle at the age of three.”

He laughs and I tell the whole story.

Before the cell phone, my parents used CBs on the road sometimes, particularly when we moved. They had handles, so I chose my own. And “The Mean Ballerina” was born.

It stuck as a sometimes nickname through the years. Even though it has nothing to do my abilities or my disposition (I hope.)

Perhaps my husband’s phone prank is fair payback for calling my older sister, Liz, her family nickname when I went to high school. She spent her senior year with everyone calling her Buffy.

Nicknames are fun and only those who know us very well are usually privy to the funniest names.

Do you recognize God by all of His names? They’re not funny, and they do have something to do with His abilities. The closer you get to Him, the more you experience all He is.

Here’s a list you can study.  Pick one to explore.

ELOHIM: POWERFUL GOD  Genesis 1:1

EL SHADDAI: GOD ALMIGHTY Genesis 17: 1 – 9; 35:9 – 15

EL ELYON: GOD MOST HIGH Genesis 14:17-24

ADONAI: LORD Isaiah 6:1-9

YAHWEH JEHOVAH: EXTERNAL GOD Exodus 3:13 – 15

JEHOVAH JIREH: THE LORD WILL PROVIDE Genesis 22:1 – 14

JEHOVAH ROPHE: THE LORD IS HEALING Exodus 15:22 – 26

JEHOVAH NISSI: THE LORD OUR BANNER  Exodus 17:8 – 16

JEHOVAH M’KADDESH: THE LORD WHO SANCTIFIES YOU  Leviticus 19:1-2; 20:7 – 8

JEHOVAH SHALOM: THE LORD IS PEACE  Judges 6:11-24

JEHOVAH ROHI: THE LORD OUR SHEPHERD Psalm 23

JEHOVAH TSIDKENU: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS Jeremiah 23:5-6

JEHOVAH SABAOTH: THE LORD OF HOSTS 1 Samuel 17:45

JEHOVAH SHAMMAH: THE LORD IS THERE (GLORY) Ezekiel 48:35

 It’s your turn. Give up one of your inside nicknames in the comments and how you got it.

The most important thing?

6 Sep
This morning, I read the following sentence in a journal with a quoted scripture. It read, “Nothing is more important than our obedience to God.”  The verse offered was Luke 11:28: He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
I opened my Bible to Luke 11 to get the context. The scripture noted was Christ’s response to a woman’s declaration after witnessing Jesus cast out a demon from a mute man.
 27As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”    Luke 11:27 – 28 NIV
The first few words of verse 28 reminded me of the beatitude verses we’ve been studying. Today, we come to the following.
Matthew 5:7 – 8  (NIV)
Blessed are the merciful,
   for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart,
   for they will see God.
Heart is the connector for me on all of these verses. I believe Jesus’s response in Luke 11:28 urges us to see we are not blessed based on birth, family position, or position in society. Rather, a person is blessed if they will hear the word of God and be changed by it. A true change creates resulting actions.
Mercy is an act of compassion. Compassion comes from the heart.
Mercy, compassion, pureness of heart — they all come from a willingness to hear the word of God and be changed by it. A willing heart. A heart with faith.
The faith-filled heart is a foundation to all things of importance. This too, is a gift from God.

Lord, fill us with renewed faith today. Overcome our doubts, and our unbelief, our grief. Faith releases us to obey  Your promptings. I praise you, Jesus, as the author and perfector of my faith. (see Hebrews 12:2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c24En0r-lXg  Let Faith Arise, by Chris Tomlin.

True Hunger = Empty Hands

30 Aug
We’ve made it to Matthew 5:6 in our focus on the beatitudes.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they will be filled.”
I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, a couple of words in this verse likely evoke different thoughts in today’s culture than when originally spoken. “Hunger” and “righteousness.” 
Have you ever experienced a desperate state of hunger? I haven’t, not to a point of entering starvation. It’s always been within my ability to satisfy my need (or to be real, more often my desired craving.)
What about righteousness? Outside of scripture, the most common form I hear of this word is “self-righteous.”  What a negative connotation that brings, and the opposite of what the verse addresses.
Matthew 5:6 is saying those who recognize their own emptiness and inability to satisfy a true hunger for right standing before the holy God, they will be filled. Not the ones who only want the benefits of a mighty God. Not ones who want to compare themselves to others and be called righteous. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness recognize a crucial need for knowing God and being close to Him, and understand they must rely on God to fill that need.
I’m reminded of a song, part of the lyrics say, “Blessed are the ones who understand, we’ve nothing to bring but empty hands.” The song is Fall Apart by Josh Wilson.
Here the entire song here, with lyrics posted.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKISYTwnn0A
God, here are my empty hands.

Extra Care Required

26 Aug
Earlier this week, I wore one of the few shirts I own that requires ironing. My mother taught me years ago to pay attention to clothes before I bought them, noting what kind of care they’d require. (She was sweetly and unendingly practical.) Most of the time, if the tag contains the letter combination I.R.O.N., I put the garment back on the rack. But, a few make their way home with me.
I faced the mirror to assess the wrinkles (on the shirt, not on the face).  Are they so bad I can’t get away with wearing this? Then the perfect little solution hit me. My flat iron (yes, this kind I use) sat on the countertop, hot and ready. A few careful strokes later and I decided my shirt was presentable. Viola!
This morning, I read a devotion by John Piper based on James 4:2 – 4. Piper explains that we are adulteress toward God when we use prayer to try to get from God something we desire more than God.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Uh, okay. What’s that got to do with flat-ironing your shirt?”
Short cuts.
Are we so busy that we treat prayer as a short cut? (Help me to do XYZ today God, Amen.)  Are we lazy to the point of finding a short cut way to do prayer? (Only praying when we drive and we have to be “still” anyway?) Or, might we pray  “only as needed” for big stuff like illness or job loss.
Being distracted away from God with everyday life keeps us from experiencing Him as our richest delight. If our prayer life varies a great deal based on the  ‘tag’ (to-do list) of our day, some extra care is required.
 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23 – 24 (NIV)

Meek – Third Beatitude

23 Aug

Continuing our study of the Beatitudes, we come to the third one today.

Matthew 5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (KJV)

Meek means gentle, mild. Webster’s gives one word: submissive.Jesus is our best example of being meek. He described himself this way.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (KJV)

 Jesus treated man with gentleness and mildness. Remember when the adulterous woman was about to be stoned, and Jesus did not condemn her? Even when Jesus was arrested and his disciples drew swords to defend him, cutting off the ear of a Roman soldier, Jesus says “No, I’m not leading a revolt.” (my paraphrase).

Being gentle and mild with people around us shows a submission to God and his dealing with us.

Jesus taught the people with great authority. Jesus stood up to repeated attacks by the Pharisees and though gentle, he was direct and bold in his answers. He even told them He was the Lord of the Sabbath when they “caught” him “working” on this day. (See Matthew 12: 1 – 8).

So, meek does not mean weak. Meek means confident in God, to the point of being submissive to His plans and dealing with you. Be bold for him with gentleness toward others, confident in heart of who you belong to.

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