Tag Archives: surrender

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.

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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?

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/

Linking up with

Life: Unmasked

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?
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